The Man Entering The Arena

By Evan Sanders

He gently closes his eyes, and for a minute, there is deep silence.

As he walks out into the tunnel, he starts to feel the ground shaking.

The walls are dripping and there is a nasty soiled musk in the air. His heart pounds.

As he walks to the arena, he can begin to feel the stress grow in his higher back and neck.

This trail has been traveled by many and only returned on by few.

He makes an attempt to breathe deep, only to be gripped by the nervousness approaching in his stomach.

He walks out into the blinding white light, eyes blurred and senses dulled.

There's that deafening sound of the crowd and the pinging in his ears. He feels the crunch of the dirt and sand below his feet.

There's a beed of sweat dripping down his brow waiting to fall, expecting what's about to come.

The heat of the sun on his back relaxes his shoulders. His eyes refocus.

Out walks his adversary.

There he stands, that monstrous figure. As dark as a moonless night. Body shimmering with decorated steel. Piercing eyes as sharp as the harsh blade he holds. A body intended for one thing - Elimination. His bellowing roar echoes across the arena.

As the quiet crowd watches, their hands are cold and impatient with expectation. The noble men look on with curiosity in the safety of their pews. Everyone is waiting for the unavoidable clash.

As he watches his enemy, his stomach sinks...but for a second. He kneels down, grabs a handful of the dirt beneath him, stained with sweat and blood, and lets it sieve through his fingers. He runs his hand softly along the pointed blade, and grips the soft bending leather. He rises, and faces the figure across from him.

The thick scars on his body rouse memories of gaffe, and as he stands there, staring into the dark eyes of the enemy across from him, it comes over him. A oceanic feeling runs through his veins and into his fingertips.

He digs his feet into the ground.

He grips the handle and let's out a cry that will be remembered for ages.

He charges.



His eyes snap open fast. He's been dreaming again. He takes a big breath, slides his hands over the dark old wood and grips the sides of the lectern.

He's ready.

He speaks

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

Our lives are the greatest arena. A great deal of the time of the time, that looming figure across from us is fear. Fear not only to perform the specific act, but fear to truly attain something that you have been brooding about doing. It really sounds bizarre at first, however it occurs. It is absolutely what keeps us from being great. That tiny fear of really being a light out in the world for lots of people to see and for many to judge must not be put out. We must not play little. The credit is allocated to the person who is trying and failing. It is not paid to those that look on a critique that honest man for the things he is doing. Always focus on that. Do not be terrified of falling in the dust. Our scars beautifully outline our wonderful journey, and make it just that much more special.

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