Yesterday I sat in room full of older ladies who belong to three women’s clubs in Creston that have been around for 125 years. One member of the group, who was unfortunately unable to be there, has been a member for 68 of those years. That is some persistence.
As they went around the room reminiscing about how long they’d been in their groups and who invited them, one lady spoke of a member who is gone now that kept them together. Even though she was 80 years old, when one of the clubs was about to disband due to lack of a president, she volunteered to be president to keep it together. I hope when I’m 80, I care about something that much.
Let’s go a little younger now. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go to my niece and nephew’s archery tournament. My niece is one of those blond, willowy girls who seem to be good at things without really trying. She’s only 11, so I hope that natural grace continues for her, but she’s not the story today.
My nephew is 14 — in the middle of the changing-voice, growing-like-crazy, angst-filled early-teen years. He somehow missed the “everything is easy” gene. He started archery because his sister was doing it and she is, of course, pretty good at it. He has to work a little harder.
The day I was there, he shot his best round ever — I can’t remember the numbers, but there were some 9s in there and maybe a 10, with no low numbers. The excitement on his face was beautiful to see. He was incredibly proud of himself, and rightly so — but that’s not the story either.
In the very next round, when he shot one of his arrows it slipped or something and hit the ground flat in front of the target. He thought perhaps it had broken — in which case he would be entitled to a reshoot — but the judges didn’t seem to be listening to him. He kept asking — politely, but persistently — until it was time to go score the round. I want to take a minute here to say that polite is not always his default attitude, but I’ll leave it at that.
It turns out the arrow was fine, and he’s not sure what happened. At this point I was prepared for a melt down: “It’s not fair” and all that jazz and the end of any concentration from my nephew.
He settled back in, shot the next round just fine and continued having a good day. I don’t know what his final score was; he certainly didn’t win, or probably even place, in the tournament. But the day was a win.
He persisted. He kept his cool. He was proud of himself — and I was proud of him.
Things don’t always go right. Keep your cool, and keep at it. Persistence matters.