Eugene Cho

the closest i got to the olympics

I don’t share this too often because it’s a reminder of the ugly monster called the “fear of failure” that still occasionally creeps up in my life.

It’s good that I’m on sabbatical right now because my entire family and I got really consumed by the Beijing Olympics.  Actually, it was a great family bonding event – watching the events, cheering for athletes, learning about stories, and soaking in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.  The Olympics were great but then again, when you [China] spend a total of 44 billion dollars on hosting the Olympics, it better be good.

Perhaps like many others, I had dreams of being a future Olympian when I was a young boy.  I grew up loving sports and still do. It was my escape for so many things including my identity crisis as an immigrant.  During middle school, interestingly enough,  I was voted both the shyest and most athletic person.  During high school, I lettered 9 times but the sport I most excelled in was fencing.  I was called “Little Flying Warrior” way before the Chinese game that nickname to Kobe Bryant. 🙂

In 1989, I qualified for the U.S. Junior Olympic Championships.  I had the future lined up.  I would make the U.S. Junior Olympic team, receive a Division I fencing scholarship, and eventually become an Olympian.  The problem was I never got to the 1st phase.  I lost in the quarterfinals and placed 21st in the Junior Olympics.  That was the closest I got to the Olympics.

I was pretty discouraged and quit fencing altogether later that year.  That competition was my last offical fencing bout.

Why did i quit?  Losing sucked and I was afraid to lose again.  I was afraid to fail and that fear of failure paralyzed me.  I have numerous regrets in my life and quitting fencing is one of them.  I can easily concede that I would have never made the Olympics.  Not even close.  But the consistent lessons I’ve learned then and now is that the process, experience, and journey is as, if not, more important than the end result.

While I do have my list of regrets, I’m trying to live my life with hopes of not adding too much to that list.  Here’s to our dreams, goals, and aspirations.  May we all continue to pursue them – in hopes of honoring Christ through our very lives.

Questions:

  • Want to share one or two of your regrets?
  • How about a dream or aspiration you hope to pursue?

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[photo from Getty Images]

Filed under: family, sports, ,

9 Responses

  1. JEN WALTERS says:

    PASTOR CHO, JUST WANTED TO TELL YOU HOW ENCOURAGING IT IS TO HEAR SOMEONE LIKE YOU WHO HAS ACCOMPLISHED SO MUCH TALK ABOUT HIS FAILURES. (EVEN THOUGH TO ME IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE MUCH OF A FAILURE TO MAKE IT TO THE JUNIOR OLYMPICS) YOUR BLOG REALLY HELPS ME SEE THAT IM NOT THE ONLY ONE AFRAID OF DOING THINGS BECAUSE I MIGHT FAIL AT IT. I’M AT A CROSS ROAD RIGHT NOW WITH MY KIDS GETTING OLDER I CAN GO BACK TO WORK AFTER A LONG ‘BREAK’ LOL! OR GO TO SCHOOL. GULP! HOPE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY ARE FEELING RESTED FROM YOUR SABBATICAL, CANT WAIT TO HAVE YOU BACK. JEN WALTERS

  2. Randall says:

    A friend asked me once, “what do you regret more: the things you’ve done or the things you didn’t do?” And I think the question was more important than the answer. I keep it in the back of my mind and think about it when trying to make big decisions.

    Questions:
    Want to share one or two of your regrets?
    How about a dream or aspiration you hope to pursue?

    * I regret not pursuing that girl, thinking that nice guys just let them go…I mean I’m not stalker material but I really could/should have tried harder. Nuf said.
    * I want to change the world.

  3. Eddie says:

    I regret not writing more. I keep telling myself I’ll start a blog to get started. As for hopes and dreams, I guess it’s related to the first.

  4. miles says:

    Mahalo for the inspiration P.E. I guess there’s not a lot of aspirations that i don’t take risks or give up on. Is there a point when it works in reverse and you persue things too much? =-)

  5. Blake says:

    I regret choosing to not pursuing Tae Kwon Do any further when I was 7 or 8. I could have been a black-belt by the time I was 10 . However, I also don’t regret the choice I made to play in a softball with my best friends instead. Just wish I could have done both.

    I dream about getting my private pilot’s license one day and maybe using that to share the love of flying with inner city kids.

  6. Ben says:

    Given your b-ball court skills back in the days, I can certainly believe you had the athleticism to succeed at a high level in a number of sports.

    You also have a great talent at public speaking and being credible. I really do feel you’ve reached the Olympics in your field which to many (including myself) is greater than the athletic Olympics. Keep up the good work.

    Too bad Korea couldn’t get a W v. Cameroon.

  7. sis says:

    I once had numerous regrets, and adding them up, I felt like a failure. God has healed me. I am beginning to notice how God is now USING even my failures!

    1. I am LEARNING from past mistakes and regrets
    2. I am able to empathize with others at a deeper level
    3. I am witnessing how God is turning many of my failures around

    God is able to make drastic changes, and most of all, HE HAS CHANGED ME.

    Now isn’t that good, or what?

  8. Eugene, I love your blog, and I wish I had more free time to get over here more often. My big regret is wasting time thinking about my failures so that I’m afraid to try again. But I’m working on it! It’s been a rough couple of years for us. But I have to believe God has a plan somewhere in all this mess. Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. Jason Gee says:

    Eugene did u fence for lowell high? If so do u remember me as ur team? I have a request if u know any good coaches for a niece of mine.

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One Day’s Wages

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F A M I L Y. So grateful to be creating memories.

Confession time: I sucked in my belly like it's the end of the world because of the full solar eclipse and then stopped breathing until this photo was taken. Which is probably why my wife looks like she's punching me on the side. But...mission accomplished. #OldManTricks These are crazy, turbulent times. Fight the good fight. Run the race set before us.

But we also need you for the long haul. Don't burn out. Discipleship and justice work is a marathon. Learn to take care of yourself. Don't play the victim. It's far too tempting to blame others. Be rooted in prayer, Scripture, and community. It's okay to pause, critical to rest and retreat, and godly to practice Sabbath.

#NoteToSelf Everyone loves the idea of  reconciliation...until it involves truthtelling, confessing, repenting, dismantling, forgiving, and peacemaking. Charlottesville. So heartbreaking and infuriating. We weep and mourn over the hatred in the hearts of these white nationalists. We weep and mourn but we can't be defeated.

As I stare at this photo that's making its round on the internet, I'm reminded of the utter importance of showing up. I'm grateful for the news media, law enforcement, clergy, and peaceful protesters that are currently there to report, protect, pray, and protest.

And this is an invitation to us. May we not be mere bystanders. May we keep pressing forward. Seek justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly. Commit to truth-telling, justice, reconciliation, peacemaking. Follow the ways of Christ. Every day. And it's important to note that we don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. In fact, it's more important that we do this exactly where we're at. May we live out the call to reconciliation in our churches, workplaces, neighborhoods, schools, and around our dining tables. Lord, may it be so... We don't have to go to Charlottesville to do this. We have to do this wherever were called to be.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. /// Thanks to those who let me know that the photo wasn't actually from today but rather from last month in Charlottesville. - https://www.facebook.com/FrankSomervilleKTVU/posts/1551137301616258:0 Grateful for a spontaneous, last minute trip with Minhee to my old stomping grounds - San Francisco. 48 hours of visiting this special city that I called home for so many years.

Pic 1: Went to the Cliff House restaurant where we got engaged about 21 years ago to make out. Oops, sorry, I meant...to reflect on God's faithfulness over these many years.

Pic 2: Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge because it's such an iconic place - with some of the most incredible views.

Pic 3: Enjoyed a glass of some Cabernet Sauvignon and pretended to be wine connoisseurs at a vineyard.

Pic 4: Had lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Sam Tung, which boasts some of the best chicken in the country. And of course, we ate at In-n-out.

Pic 5: And finally, celebrated with the good folks at @thefreedomstory where @onedayswages received their annual Freedom Award. What an honor.

Grateful. Thankful for this sabbatical. Breathe.

Show yourself some grace.

We can't do everything for everyone in every situation. Do what you can and do it with a joyful heart.

Amen

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