NEVER QUIT


The Race


                    “Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!

                    They shout out and plead.

                    “There’s just too much against you now.

                    This time you can’t succeed!”


                    And as I start to hang my head

                    In front of failure’s face,

                    My downward fall is broken by

                    The memory of a race.


                    And hope refills my weakened will

                    As I recall that scene;

                    For just the thought of that short race

                    Rejuvenates my being.


                                                   II


                    A children’s race—young boys, young men;

                    How 1 remember well.

                    Excitement, sure, but also fear;

It wasn’t hard to tell.


                    They all lined up so full of hope:

                    Each thought to win that race.

                    Or tie for first, or if not that,

                    At least take second place.


                    And fathers watched from off the side,

                    Each cheering for his son.

                    And each boy hoped to show his dad

                    That he would be the one.


                    The whistle blew and off they went!

                    Young hearts and hopes afire.

                    To win, to be the hero there

                    Was each young boy’s desire.


                    And one boy in particular

                    Whose dad was in the crowd,

                    Was running near the lead and thought,

                    “My dad will be so proud.”


                    But as he speeded down the field

                    Across a shallow dip,

                    The little boy who thought to win,

                    Lost his step and slipped.


                    Trying hard to catch himself

                    His hands flew out to brace,

                    And mid the laughter of the crowd

                    He fell flat on his face.


                    So down he fell and with him hope

                    He couldn’t win it now—

                    Embarrassed, sad, he only wished

                    To disappear somehow.


                    But as he fell his dad stood up

                    And showed his anxious face,

                    Which to the boy so clearly said:

                    “Get up and win the race!”


                    He quickly rose, no damage done

Behind a bit, that’s all—

                    And ran with all his mind and might

                    To make up for his fall.


                    So anxious to restore himself

                    To catch up and to win

                    His mind went faster than his legs;

                    He slipped and fell again!


                    He wished that he had quit before

                    With only one disgrace.

                    “I’m hopeless as a runner now;

                    1 shouldn’t try to race.


                    But in the laughing crowd he searched

                    And found his father’s face.

                    That steady look which said again:

                    “Get up and win the race!”


                    So he jumped up to try again.

                    Ten yards behind the last—

                    “If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought,

                    “I’ve got to move real fast.”


                    Exerting everything he had,

                    He gained eight or ten,

                    But trying so hard to catch the lead

He slipped and fell again!


                    Defeat! He lay there silently

                    A tear dropped from his eve—

                    “There’s no sense running anymore:

                    Three strikes I’m out, why try?”


                    The will to rise had disappeared

                    All hope had fled away;

                    So far behind, so error-prone:

                    A loser all the way.


                    “I’ve lost, so what’s the use,” he thought.

                    “I’ll live with my disgrace.”

                    But then he thought about his dad

                    Who soon he’d have to face.


                    “Get up,” an echo sounded low.

                    “Get up and take your place.


                    You were not meant for failure here.

                    Get up and win the race.”


                    With borrowed will, “Get up,” it said,

                    “You haven’t lost at all,

                    For winning is not more than this:

                    To rise each time you fall.”


                    So up he rose to win once more,

                    And with a new commit

                    He resolved that win or lose,

                    At least he wouldn’t quit.


                    So far behind the others now.

                    The most he’d ever been—

                    Still he gave it all he had

                    And ran as though to win.


                    Three times he’d fallen stumbling:

                    Three times he’d rose again.

                    Too far behind to hope to win

                    He still ran to the end.


                    They cheered the winning runner

                    As he crossed first place,

                    Head high and proud and happy;

                    No falling, no disgrace.


                    But when the fallen youngster

                    Crossed the line, last place,

The crowd gave him the greater cheer

                    For finishing the race.


                    And even though he came in last

                    With head bowed low, unproud,

                    You would have thought he won the

                    Race to listen to the crowd.


                    And to his dad he sadly said,

                    “I didn’t do so well.”

                    “To me you won,” his father said.

                    “You rose each time you fell.”


                                         III


                    And when things seem dark and hard

                    And difficult to face,

                    The memory of that little boy

                    Helps me in my race.


                    For all of life is like that race.

                    With ups and downs and all.

                    And all you have to do to win

                    Is rise each time you fall.


                    “Quit!” “Give up, you’re beaten!”

                    They still shout in my face.

                    But another voice within me says:

                    “GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!”


             Sorry - Author unknown - but not forgotten


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