True Champions

The Olympics were on TV while I sat in the Memorial Cancer Clinic getting my first chemo fix. I thought of the comparisons between the champions competing in front of the world and the volunteers serving in front of a few dozen clients (not patients).


Olympians are born of a unique convergence of circumstances: natural skills, intense training, expert coaching, financial backing and national sponsorship. Of course the athletes have to make the most of these privileges and they deserve any metal they earn and all the glory accompanying it.


Volunteers are seldom as richly blessed. They can be normal people with ordinary abilities and little training. They receive sparse recognition and no financial reward. None of them have ever graced a Wheaties box.


Elaine, breast cancer survivor
Elaine, breast cancer survivor


Elaine comes to the clinic most Tuesdays. She has a lovely voice and an even lovelier spirit. She is a breast cancer survivor who shares her music and her story with total strangers to encourage them. “You can beat this thing. I’m living proof!”


I requested anything by the Eagles and got a great rendition of Tequila Sunrise.


Service with a smile from Susan
Service with a smile from Susan

Susan wheels along in the afternoon with a warm smile and hot drinks. If she doesn’t have it on her cart, she’ll get it for you. I had blueberry herbal tea to go along with my Red Devil.


It’s thrilling to watch Michael Phelps make history.


The gymnasts are surreal. Have you ever tried to do an Iron Cross?


Treanor and Walsh are unbeatable on sand.


But who will be on the pedestals a hundred years from today?


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