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The arena | by gwilmore
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The arena

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't how hard you hit; it's about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Now, if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain't you. You're better than that!"


-- From the motion picture "Rocky Balboa"


"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."


-- Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States


During a photo stroll one Saturday morning, during which I was accompanied by fellow Flickrite cobalt123, we came across a building near downtown Phoenix which was home to a boxing club. Although I am not a boxing fan myself, I found the place to be surprisingly upbeat and pleasant, and the staff let us take all the pictures we wanted. Among the images I captured was this one of an empty ring partially illuminated by sunlight. I wish I could have included a fighter, perhaps battered but still defiant, within the circle of light, but this was the best I could do.


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Taken on April 7, 2007