Life Will Trash Your Trophies

All, Get Involved, Living Adventures, Preferred Movement     by Dan Muhlenkamp

I really wish I could take credit for this…but I can’t.  I’m going to paraphrase From Life on the Edge by Dr. James Dobson, chapter 4, pages 58-61.

It seems that when he was in high school, Dr. Dobson (he wasn’t a doctor then of course) fell in love with tennis.  He was very good and when he went on to college he was intent on “riding this sport into the record books”.  The school had a prestigious “perpetual tennis trophy” and every year added the name of the school tennis champion to the trophy base.  The trophy was about 2 feet tall and it was prominentyly displayed in the college trophy case.

Young James Dobson was determined to have his name inscribed on that trophy.  I guess the determination Dr. Dobson showed through his mature life must have been present as a young adult because his name was inscribed on that trophy, not once, but twice.  Dr. Dobson remembers “I left the college with the satisfaction of knowing that future generations of freshmen would stand at the display case and read my name in admiration.  Someday they might be great like me.”

Fast-Forward just 15 years.

A good friend of Dr. Dobson came to visit one day and he brought with him that trophy.  It appeared to have been repaired a little, but there was “James Dobson” still proudly inscribed on its base.  Dr. Dobson was very surprised to see the trophy out of the school trophy case and asked his friend what the occassion was…and was even more surprised by the answer.

His friend had gone back to visit the school and happened upon the trophy…in a trash dumpster.  The atheletic department was doing some renovations and had decided to get rid of the less significant trophies to make room for the new displays.  His friend had salvaged  the trophy, repaired it, put a new base on it, and had Jame’s name re-inscribed.

From this experience Dr. Dobson gives us this valuable lesson:  ” IF YOU LIVE LONG ENOUGH, LIFE WILL TRASH YOUR TROPHIES, TOO.  I don’t care how important something seems at the time, if it is an end in itself, the passage of time will render it old and tarnished.”


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