Eric Schaeffer
Theater director

Eric Schaeffer

Co-founder and artistic director for Signature Theatre in Arlington, which won the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award for sustained artistic excellence.

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Winning even by losing

Q: The Washington Post and other media outlets are keeping careful count of the number of medals the United States and other countries are winning at the Winter Olympics. Should so much attention be focused on the medal count? Is winning gold, silver or bronze a fair measure of Olympic success? What about the athletes who work for years to get to the Games, yet have no shot at winning a medal?

Everybody always loves a prize.

There is no doubt that the people who walk away with medals use them as a measure of success and accomplishments. There are many variables that come into play, from weather to frame of mind for that certain competition day. The end result is that someone is named "the best."

When you see that winner possess sportsmanship and set an example for others to follow, it's a great example of the human spirit. It gives people who have trained for years, who may never even have a shot at a medal, someone to look up to and admire.

That's a wonderful thing about the Olympics -- when all of the countries from around the world come together and become supportive of each other and their talents. It's a wonderful moment for all of us to look at people in a new light. It was thrilling watching Michael Phelps in the summer games. Just think of how many young people where watching him swim and saying I want to do that one day. We need more moments like that in our lives.

Giving people the incentive to strive for goals that may be outside of their reach is a great thing. They may not make it, but at least they tried to climb a new mountain and learned from it. So the Olympics may not come down to medal counts as it does to the human experience of winning, sharing it and encouraging others to do the same.

By Eric Schaeffer  |  February 25, 2010; 12:03 AM ET  | Category:  Medals and meaning Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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