Never to pass by a challenge, my older brother challenged me to a race one summer evening. We were both teenagers, although he is four years older than me. There is an instinct in a younger brother to win something over the older one.

The raceThe race — a bicycle versus a horse. No person in their right mind would accept such a challenge, since the result is almost assured. I accepted, nonetheless. Somehow I thought I could pedal faster than the horse could run.

The race was on, as my sisters watched.

Needless to say, I lost miserably, and ended up with a cut above my eye when I slipped on the pedal and the bare handlebar made its mark.

Why do we take on challenges that seem almost impossible? Jordan Romero is the current example, the youngest boy to climb Mt. Everest. It seems we accept challenges more when we are younger, and less often as we age.

Some reasons to engage the challenge are simple:

  • Prove something
  • Rivalry
  • Get better
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Renewed spirit

The list of reasons can go on.

As a younger person, it is more of a quest, an almost unstoppable spirit to engage and take on life. Later on, it may shift to more career competitive or rivalry reasons. Those later years are less for the spirit of it than the practical nature of it.

The memory is a good one, remembered with humor and humility. I guess it’s remembered because, in a way, it built my character. That race represented the unbridled spirit of being able to take on anything. It was a spirit of character which we must always embrace.

The memory is probably still in my mind to provide that spark and keep my spirit alive. We all need those memories of past childhood challenges to grasp on to them and still take on those challenges with high spirit and enduring character.

Anyone up for a race?