“Flanders always adhered to the bromide: “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!”.
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A man among men was Albert Flanders. A true leader; a man with ideas. He had spent his life in a hurry to get anywhere. If his feet were still moving, it was a good bet that Albert had a plan. He was that kind of man.
And people tended to take his lead. Flanders always adhered to the bromide: “Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!”. The man with direction (Albert) was naturally the boss. The followers liked his ideas, but hadn’t the intestinal fortitude to see them through to completion. Those totally disinterested were best to just sit there and not be trampled.
At least that’s how it was when Albert was in his prime. It was hard to keep up with a man that was committed to succeed. And despite the consensus, success was NOT a bad thing; not something to be punished, only something to be celebrated. But as the years passed, folks found it much easier to just not be trampled. Albert still took charge, but fewer and fewer people were inclined to move forward with him.
“Teach a man how to fish, and you’d feed him the rest of his life” Albert retorted, “but I’ll be damned he’d still want you the provide the worm and bait his hook for him!” And so it was.
Flanders was old now. A shell of his former self; a slower version of the man obsessed. But he still possessed the inner fire; he continued to drive forward, one shuffle at a time. Albert still had a plan.
At least his feet were still moving. He was that kind of man.
Simeon Kimbuutu knew the time had come. This was his personal finish line. His last Olympic Games. At 47 years of age, Simeon had accomplished all he could in his storied career as a long distance runner. He was a national hero in his country. The small African Nation of Calderone could never be more proud of their native son. Kimbuutu had won his share of medals. But he saw his last chance slipping away.
The runners from Kenya and Ethiopia were very strong and had dominated the sport since Simeon’s last gold medal finish. The Calderone harrier didn’t think he stood a chance against them now.
He had been slated to run the second heat of his event. His stretched his tight muscles, not truly getting relief or confidence. Simeon stood with his hands on his hips and looked around at the throng of spectators.
Bright banners were sparsely scattered throughout the stadium. The cacophonous roar filled his head, but did nothing to motivate Simeon. At that moment, all previous medals slipped from his memory. All the training he had done still left him ill-prepared for the fray. Being the oldest competitor in this young man’s sport had Kimbuutu feeling old.
Simeon looked to the end of the Paladia where the caldron stood ablaze. But, all he saw was an impossible feat. He held no passion. His feet felt like they had been cemented to the track. The starter called the runners to position.
But Simeon Kimbuutu had nothing left. He had lost his fire.