Skating effortlessly around the ice, he had just netted the game winning goal in double overtime. With the win, Alec Martinez (Miami University, OH alum) raised the Stanley Cup over his head in victory. Two NHL titles in the last three years. What a moment, what an experience. It didn’t take long for the celebration to begin. Confetti falling from the rafters, champagne spraying through the air and the donning of championship hats and tee shirts.
Confetti, champagne and clothing. Who the hell cares when there is a nearly three foot tall silver and nickel alloy cup that weighs almost 35 pounds being paraded around an ice skating rink? All eyes following the cup and soaking in the triumphant joy and experience of victory.
If the Stanley Cup Trophy isn’t enough, how about the World Cup Trophy? Until July 13th, countries from all around the globe will be representing their nation’s soccer team in arguably one of the most energetic sports environments out there. This year there were 204 entries from 6 continents competing for 31 available slots. All so that one team from one country can raise the gold World Cup Trophy.
On the Surface, What Does it Mean to ‘Raise the Cup’?
To experience the full gamut of emotions, physically and mentally, after winning a competition is something that often can’t be described. Unless you are in the moment yourself, there is no single word to demonstrate what pure exhilaration feels like. Having a winning experience is not limited to the physical realm.
The last time you received an ‘A’ on your most challenging exam, you certainly raised the cup.
When you won a challenging sale at work, you raised the cup.
That time when the doctor told you that you are now cancer free, you raised the cup.
It usually happens so quickly that you have no time to process your thoughts. Sometimes acting childish, stringing together sentences that don’t make any sense or crying tears of joy. It’s the immediate reaction to a sudden event that results in a personal gain.
Remember, this is merely the surface. And on the surface it means ‘Your task is finished; you won’. But, there are layers upon layers underneath that speak the true meaning.
Under the Surface, What Does it Mean to ‘Raise the Cup’?
Behind every momentous occasion, or triumphant win, there is a story to tell. The story is painful. The story is exciting. The story is gut-wrenching. Most of all, the story is real. The pages that were written before the Hollywood ending speak the truth of the true significance in raising the cup in victory.
So, you earned an ‘A’ on that final exam. The two seconds it takes to read the grade on paper doesn’t compare to the hours you spent studying for the last three months. Because remember, you have a learning disability that causes you to struggle in academic areas that most others excel.
You won an order at work, great. In the brief moments it takes to read the email confirming the sale, you reflect on the hours you traveled on more than one occasion to win the order. Or the preparation spent providing what was requested.
As you sat in the doctor’s office for what felt like an eternity, only to be told in 5 seconds you are cancer free. The victory isn’t in those five seconds – the victory is the past year of battling through sickness and treatments, fighting from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night.
The meaning of ‘raising the cup’ truly does precede the few moments of victory at the end. People will likely forget what you said or how you acted in those final moments. You will likely forget yourself. On the contrary, I can guarantee that no one will ever forget the pains, struggles and hardships overcomed that helped you arrive at the end.
It isn’t through the final ‘win’ that you earn respect. You earn the respect and admiration through the series of small victories along the way. When you reach that final moment and you are on top of the world, raise the cup and celebrate, but remember that the true accomplishment has already been completed.