Greatness is synonymous with perfection: FALSE. The greatest athletes in the history of sports have failed one time or another, some failing more times than we can count. So what is it that makes them great? The problem with this question is that the definition of “greatness” is extremely ambiguous, and the meaning can vary from person to person.
In 2008, Forbes published an article titled “Reach For Greatness, Not Perfection” in which author Kerri Strug wrote, “For athletes to achieve greatness, one thing is key: they must succeed on the biggest stage. We want to see them perform at their best when the pressure is at its highest and the most is at stake.” Strug isn’t just a writer; she’s an Olympic gold and bronze medal-winning gymnast, so her words should weigh heavy.
To me, greatness in any athlete is defined by their ability to overcome adversity, make something difficult look effortless, and win in a manner that leaves people speechless multiple times. If you combine my definition of “greatness” with Strug’s, Arrogate checks off every point. What I’m trying to get at is that I find it really unjust to hear people who have touted Arrogate’s greatness for the last year all of a sudden question it because he lost a couple of races. In seven months, he surpassed all of our expectations and the one time he stumbles we tear him apart? Sure, his loss in the San Diego Handicap wasn’t ideal, nor was his near-miss in the Pacific Classic, but he’s done things – big things – others have not. His losses shouldn’t take away from that. Personally, I would love to see him cap off his career with a win. But if for some reason he doesn’t, will it take away his greatness? Not a chance.
“Defining Greatness,” written by Claudia L. Ruiz, was originally published in the
Fall 2017 issue of Thoroughbred Today magazine as the “Letter From The Editor.”
Read the issue online → CLICK HERE