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Finishing with a Dirty Face

Have you seen the movie Secretariat? It is about a thoroughbred racehorse that in 1973 won the Triple Crown – the first time a horse had won all three races in 25 years.

Throughout the story, Secretariat ran races where he would begin slowly, almost always coming from behind the pack to win. This was what giving his best looked like. After the many races that told his story, towards the end of most of them, we would see a shot of the smiling jockey take off his goggles, revealing the only clean part of his face around his eyes. The rest of his face was covered in dirt, assumingely, because the horses in front of him caked his face in the mud they were kicking up.

The climax of the movie, where he won him the Triple Crown, was the Belmont Stakes. This race is different from the previous two because it is longer and needed a different strategy to win. Giving his best looked different in this race. Rather than starting slow and finishing strong, Secretariat had to start strong and finish strong. He, and his jockey, had to give it everything – consistently – over the one 1/2-mile course. And they did. He won and created history. At the end of this race, they showed the shot once more of the jockey taking off his mask. This time, his face was clean – there was hardly any dirt on it at all. Why? Because Secretariat had been in front from the beginning, and there was never anyone before him who could kick dirt in his face.
Sometimes we win with dirt on our faces because we've had to fight hard. Sometimes we win with 'clean faces' because we've been dominant. What matters is not whether our race is hard or easy, but that we give our best.

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