From the Preface to the revised 2013 edition of The Quality of Effort:
“….What prompted me to write the book was the dynamic around talent, effort and results…. As a teacher and coach, I constantly faced the diverse mix of learning styles, intelligences and levels of effort in the classroom and the gym. Faced with the myriad sagas of my own and others’ victories and defeats, I wanted to more deeply understand the place of effort in life. I explored the “well-played loss” and the “poorly-played win,” the prospect of doing the best I could and falling short of my perceived goal, and the frustrating experience, especially in youth, of engaging someone with great talent, who seemed to make little effort, and always, it seemed, came out on top. In a nutshell, I wanted to understand my own experience more clearly—to take a close look at any chosen endeavor, my quality of effort within it, my preconceived notion of success, and the ultimate meaning of the experience, both in light of and completely divorced from any final result.
“As I was completing the revisions to this edition, the 2012 Summer Olympics lured me to spend more time in front of a television screen than I would ordinarily. As I watched these amazingly gifted and hardworking athletes with their respective reactions to winning gold, silver, bronze or no medals, or to not even qualifying for the medal rounds of their events, I was both moved and intrigued by their diverse perspectives. Some were elated just to compete in the Olympic Games, some made it clear that a silver medal was a failure, and others danced in joy with their bronze medal in hand as they celebrated the gold and silver winners.
“These games reminded me yet again of the very human story behind every gold, silver, bronze, and no-medal performance, and of the countless stories of those athletes who don’t make it to the Olympics. Every performance everywhere—from local youth leagues to the NBA, from Major League Baseball to intercollegiate competition, from the NFL to high school sports, and from the World Championships to every other level and class of athletic competition—guarantees that for every win, another, or ten, or a hundred, or thousands of other performances didn’t win, at least not in the traditional sense of score, time, weight or distance. This book is about how each of us holds these stories and performances—within the context of, and completely apart from, the final outcome.”
Copyright © 2013 by Reggie Marra