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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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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