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You can win or whine, but not both
May 29, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
It’s hard not to be impressed with the efforts of 80-year-old Japanese Mount Everest climber Yuichiro Miura, who set the record as the oldest person to reach the world’s highest peak when he got up there a week ago Thursday.
Talk about setting a goal and then achieving it.
It’s also hard not to be impressed with Brazilian Tony Kanaan who, after years with bigger and better-funded racing teams, finally won the Indy 500 in his 12th attempt.
Kanaan is a great driver, a championship winner, a guy who won everywhere but Indy until Sunday. He made an absolutely fantastic (there’s those Brazilian adjectives again) pass on a restart with three laps to go to take the lead for the final time. A caution flag came out when Dario Franchitti, last year’s winner, wrecked back in the field, and Kanaan’s pass became the race winning pass, the 68th lead change in an amazing race. He won cruising behind a Corvette pace car for the final couple of laps.
And people are complaining that it was not fair.
It is, however, a harsh reality of automobile racing. Or was, until NASCAR turned stock car racing into a reality TV show a few years back with its special green-white-checker finishes that allow for just one more pass to be made coming out of one more caution at the end in the event the race would have ended its advertised distance under the yellow.
Kanaan made an amazing pass and won. Period. Congratulations and I look forward to seeing that big nose sticking out of the side of the Borg-Warner Trophy.
Unfortunately, the great Brazilian driver is running smack into the Whiners Way. Just give me one more chance, I’ll get it done. Doesn’t matter if it’s getting your term papers or your thesis done in college, meeting a deadline at work or forgetting your wife’s birthday. Hit the snooze six times and then be late for work. C’mon, boss, take it easy. I just couldn't wake up. A little more time is all we need.
Miura says he’s not climbing Everest again, even if a Nepalese climber manages to break the record. Instead, he’s going skiing. Miura says he nearly died coming down from Everest because he deprived himself of too much oxygen by taking off his mask for summit photos.
"We just beat the monsoon season, and the typhoons are coming," Miura said in an AP story. "Thanks to good luck and careful preparation and planning, we all returned without any accidents." He also lamented the loss of a 67-year-old female climber on another tall peak, saying the climber exceeded her limits and lost her strength.
“It’s a real shame. It only takes one misstep,” Miura said.
Miura pushed the limits of age, prepared well and achieved his goal during the time allotted by nature and age.
Kanaan won a race by making the right pass at the right time, a culmination of talent, guts and experience, thus achieving his goal. Had he made an error, he could have lost the way Takuma Sato, also a Japanese man, lost last year in a similar situation, spinning out and wrecking while trying to pass the Scottish Franchitti. Sato, by the way, whined that Franchitti didn’t give him room to pass. No, he didn’t. Not on the last lap, four turns from the win of the Indy 500. It seemed a classless way to lose when he had made a truly gutsy move and just came out short.
I point out all the nationalities because neither whining, nor guts, are solely American qualities. It's a human thing.
So, how do you live? Are you a winner? Or a whiner?
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