Courage and Grace in the Face of Adversity

Lexi Thompson and Morgan William experienced both the highs and lows of their sport last week. And during these trying times, each showed us the courage and grace of a champion.

Thompson, a professional golfer, was winning a major championship event with a three shot lead more than halfway through the final round, when she was assessed a four stroke penalty for a rules violation that had occurred the day prior. The violation was spotted by a television viewer who notified the LPGA of the potential issue. Rules officials watched video and determined that Thompson, after marking and picking up her ball on the green, placed it back down less than an inch from where it had been marked. But this was enough to require the penalty, even though it was full day later.

Morgan William was the surprise star of the women’s college basketball tournament when she scored 41 points in the Elite Eight and then hit the game winning shot to help her Mississippi State team upset the Connecticut Huskies in the Final Four. Despite her heroics, William played only half of the National Championship game, including just 43 seconds of the critical fourth quarter.

In a matter of moments, both of these women went from being at the top of their respective sports, to receiving a crushing blow. It would have been easy for them to be bitter, angry, or despondent. And although they may have been, they each showed us great sportsmanship and grace.

Although Thompson lost the tournament, she did rally to force a playoff and then, after the loss, courageously spoke to the media, saying, “I learned a lot about myself and how much fight I do have in me. Every day is a learning process. I wasn’t expecting what happened today but it is what it is. It happens, I’ll learn from it and hopefully I’ll do better.” After collecting her emotions following the interview, Thompson went to sign autographs and thank the fans for their support.

William spoke after her disappointing benching in the National Championship game, “Jazzmun [the player who played in place of William], she went out there and did a good job. She had energy which coach was looking for. He said she did good….She was getting the ball, pushing it, and scoring. I can’t be mad. It’s what is best for the team, and she did great.”

The one thing we can be sure of is that life will give us challenges. Our attitude and how we respond to these challenges will determine our ability to get through them. Rather than let our challenges defeat us, let’s learn from them, let’s be courageous, and gracious, and resilient. Lexi Thompson and Morgan William give us great examples of this. I am sure it won’t be long until they both are back on top again!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

P.S. – Follow me on Twitter, @jvearle, and share my blog with others who love leadership and positivity!

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