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Hurdle by Hurdle

4 July 2023

Allison was inspired by Jolien Boumkwo’s participation in the 100-meter European Team Championships in Krakow, Poland on 24 Jun 2023.

Tags: allison read, allison watched, teams

Last month, the Belgium team needed someone, anyone, to agree to participate in the 100-metter hurdle. Two of its other team members were hurt and someone needed to volunteer, or Belgium would be disqualified. Fortunately, a shot-putter showed up.

By now, maybe you’ve seen the coverage of Boumkwo deliberately and cautiously stepping over each hurdle. If not, prepare to cheer.

Boumkwo wanted to help her team but also had to make sure she didn’t injure herself. We can learn many lessons from Boumkwo’s choice and approach, but today I find myself considering these two questions:

  1. What does your team at work (family, volunteer organization, etc.) need you to do that you’d really rather not do or at least don’t feel qualified to do?
  2. How could you do it with a great attitude in a way that gets the job done but also is manageable for you?

Going slowly over one hurdle at a time can often be exactly what is needed in a tough situation. However, as two New York Times writers summarized, “The storybook ending for Boumkwo and Belgium, however, was not to be. Belgium finished 14th in the team standings, 6.5 points behind Greece — a gap too large for even Boumkwo to make up — and was demoted to Division 2.”

Things don’t always work out, but it sure is nice to look back and know you did what you could. My guess is that Boumkow’s life will be forever changed for the better. Goodness knows, I’m enjoying following her on Instagram and am grateful for her inspiration as I tackle some tasks this summer that I don't want to do, but that I know are very necessary. I'll be channeling her attitude and chanting to myself,  "hurdle by hurdle."


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