Born on September 12, 1913 in Oakville Alabama, James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens was a four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. While he defied Adolph Hilters’ theory of an Aryan superior race, and won the hearts of the German people, it took years of selfless sacrifice and humiliation in a system that simply exploited his talent.
It only took 7 days and 4 gold medals for him to help one country to move on a new direction in race relations. Yet, it took him a life time to be recognized as a human being in his own country. A country that he loved, irrespective of what it did or didn’t do. Jesse kept running his race.
Here was a man that constantly made an effort to use his athletic abilities to reach into the hearts of men and women around the world. He was constantly aware of any opportunity to pass on the lessons he learnt. The sacrifices made by others who helped him achieve what he did, he passed that on.
At the start of his race, Jesse had no direction. He likely did not realize that he was running a race. However, it took one person to gear him up and get him in the right lane. Then once he was there, there was no stopping. He often got out of his lane to run another race but that’s just part of running. Sometimes we foul out but there are always lessons to gain.
However, we get back on track and keep running again.
We live in an imperfect world. A world filled with hate, pride, and simply what’s in it for me. The few heroes in our world are the ones that selflessly give of themselves so that others get to run in their own lane.
What lane are you running in? While you are running in your lane, are you helping others to run in their lane? Do you have a course of action to keep running your race? Have you started your race? Do you know what race you are running? Questions, questions. That is the start of running any race. We have questions and while we run we are seeking answers to see if we are running in the right direction. Those answers are the signs provided to us by our coach(es). That one person that comes alongside us when they recognize a talent. The ones that snub us and make an effort to put us in a place they believe we belong. Are you that hero?
You have a race to run. It’s not too late to start. After-all, you likely have been running just in the the wrong direction. Here’s a chance to get back on track.
Jesse endured it all with the support of his wife Minnie Ruth Solomon and his 3 daughters. He paved the way for so many others who today are able to achieve more than he could every have.
Get back on track and pave a way for someone else.
More on the Jesse Owen’s Story
A Germany Perspective