The Student Newspaper of Westminster Christian Academy

maggie lindstrom


“The Man in the Arena” (Intro)

Through my experiences in playing sports all my life, I’ve learned a lot about toughness. I started playing football and baseball as young as possible, and I picked up my third sport later on. 

I could go off on a lot of rabbit trails with this topic of toughness in sports, so I want to keep this series of blogs as organized as I can. I want to work through a well-known quote from a well-known man that knew what it meant to be tough. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer,” and “A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not […] of superiority but of weakness.” 

He goes on to give a powerful speech that is now known as “The Man in the Arena”. 

For me, his speech sums up everything I’ve learned about toughness through sports into one paragraph. 

His powerful message describes what true toughness looks like. He uses the example of the man in the arena to get his point across. He compares toughness in sports or “in the arena” to toughness in life. 

I believe playing sports is one of the best ways kids can start to learn what true toughness in life looks like. 

In the following blogs, I will work through “The Man in the Arena” speech and connect each part to my personal experiences with toughness in sports. 

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