Dan stumbles to pursue his daughter as he scoops a pair of bulky salt-stained winter coats under his left armpit, while fastening the strap of Amanda’s Karate bag across his shoulder.
Extending her iPhone in arms reach of her face and accompanied holographic purple acrylic trophy—SNAP! With one hand and a few fingers effortlessly clicking on the screen of her phone, the tweet is posted for her 556 followers: #Champion2020!
Invading her frame of vision, Amanda abandons a burst of new photos as her father waddles with their belongings towards her in confusion.
“Amanda, what—what the heck happened out there?”
“What do you mean, Dad?”
An interruption of cheers from a nearby match elevates Dan’s frustration as he struggles to question his daughter.
“Sweetheart, you went through 6 months of grueling training for this championship. Your sparring was sloppy and I could tell by your face you were not hungry to win. Talk to me here.”
“I don’t know, Dad. Maybe it was just an off day.”
“I don’t’ think that’s it, Amanda… And what is that for?” Dan nods at the 12-inch trophy.
“It’s my participation trophy… Anyone that doesn’t place in the top three spots earns one.”
“But you lost… First round—that’s it. End of story.”
Biting her lower lip, Amanda avoids making eye contact with her father as her cheeks begin to flush.
“Look, sweetie, I’m sorry. You have to learn that sometimes in life you are going to fail, which is perfectly normal! But you don’t celebrate your failures, you learn from them. If you leave here today with that trophy, you are a champion of nothing. But if you walk away with an ambition to learn and an open mind to improve from your weaknesses, you’re that much closer to becoming a champion. And not just in Karate, but in life.”
A near minute of silence passes when Amanda resumes her attention on the notifications from her phone.
“Sorry, Dad. Some of my friends are just congratulating me on my so-called “failure”.”
Dan takes a seat on the 1st place slot of the podium as he watches his daughter text.
"Oh, how times have changed."