This has been an incredible season for one of my favorite shows, America’s Got Talent. For the first time since I started watching any of the talent shows, I believe that this season has provided a showcase for some amazing performers and each of the finalists truly deserves to win. Regardless of whether you like the show’s premise or host or judges, this year you have to at least concede that America has some incredible talent. It also has some incredible courage.
Last night a couple of twelve-year-old ballroom dancers performed. They have repeatedly wowed the audience with their skill, precision, grace, confidence, and professionalism. Yes, professionalism. They aren’t just cute in their costumes. They don’t just dance. They perform like stars! And last night their performance was the personification of professionalism.
The lights came on and Anna and Patryk appeared in their gorgeous costumes. The anticipation of the audience was almost palpable as they prepared to be astounded. Then as the young couple started down the stairway to the stage the unthinkable happened…Anna fell. America collectively held its breath. I felt like my own child had fallen. How disappointing, I thought. How devastating and humiliating to do that on national television during the finals! And in the same instant I was also concerned that she might be hurt. Backs are injured and careers are ended by such falls.
I hardly had time to think those thoughts and swallow before she had popped back up and started dancing. It was their best performance yet! Truly amazing. Yet as they completed their routine and stood before the judges you could tell that Anna was barely holding her emotions under control. For a twelve-year-old girl nothing except perfection will suffice. For the rest of her life she will recall, not her great dancing, but the fall. It is our human nature to give ourselves ten points for our successes and subtract fifty for our failures. I hope she gets over it. I hope she forgives herself and realizes that she was, and is a wonderful dancer with astounding talent. One fall does not diminish her dedication or her talent.
Besides, we don’t care about the fall. It was the getting up that will forever remain in the memory of America.
Everyone falls. Everyone fails at one time or another, and through accident or as a result of our own decisions, we find ourselves on the floor instead of floating gracefully down the stairs. That is the moment of character defining action that determines the rest of our journey in life. Stay down and cry and whine, or get up and go on.
We don’t care about the fall Anna. It’s what happened next that matters.