The Man in the Arena

September 27th, 2013 by Jolie Lucas

Fight to keep your airport an airportIt 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 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.

THE MAN IN THE ARENA, Theodore Roosevelt Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In a Republic, April, 1910

I have been spending the week thinking about how best to remain engaged in the struggle to keep airports, airports.  How do we have the courage face the critic with the bullhorn, who points out every single misstep?  How do we steel ourselves against the inevitable bully who says, “You can’t do that”? How do we have the resolution to stay motivated and involved in the fight?

After watching psychological researcher Brene Brown’s recent lecture on daring greatly [http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/Oprah-and-Dr-Brene-Brown-on-Vulnerability-and-Daring-Greatly-Video], I found myself reading and re-reading the above quote by Theodore Roosevelt.  While arguably the longest sentence I have ever read, the heart of this speech is to try and keep trying.  In the face of the critic, the one who points out your shortcomings, who blasts you with disbelief, remain standing.

Those of us who work in airport and aviation advocacy know that we cannot give up and we know we will fall.  But as Roosevelt points out the man “who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who a the worst if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly”.

If daring greatly were a charge, how would you respond?  Think about your home airport.   If you dared greatly what would you do there?  How would you engage a community that is not sure of the airport’s worth?  How would you push forward safety enhancements?  If you weren’t afraid, what would you do? Think about yourself as an aviation lover.  How can you share that passion with another?  How can you give of yourself toward a greater good?

I have always taught my children that if you are going down, you should go down swinging.  Flight instructors say that to fly that airplane all the way down to the ground.  The take away here is Engagement. Action. Perseverance.  Roosevelt was talking about being an active citizen.  What if we applied active citizenry to aviation?  Would we be dusty, tired and bloody souls daring greatly?  Or are we the cold, timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. I choose the former.  Want to come with me?

 

Teach them to dare greatly!

Teach them to dare greatly!

Jolie Lucas

Jolie Lucas is a Mooney owner, licensed psychotherapist, private pilot, and co-founder of two grass-roots general aviation service groups, Mooney Ambassadors and the Friends of Oceano Airport She is the 2010 AOPA Joseph Crotti Award recipient for GA Advocacy. She is one of the directors and executive producers of the documentary: Boots on the Ground: the Men & Women who made Mooney. She created #MooneyGirls blog to inspire women to become pilots and females to become aircraft owners.

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The opinions expressed by the bloggers do not reflect AOPA’s position on any topic.

  • http://blog.aopa.org/opinionleaders/2013/09/27/the-man-in-the-arena/ Michael

    Community members often do not realize how valuable an airport is to the local economy and to everyday life in general. One only needs to take an aviation law class to understand the true power an airport has over the land that lays adjacent to its property. With rising fuel costs and the instability of an ineffective government it may take years before general aviation reaches a plateau of stability. General aviation is in a spiraling decline in the middle-class, mainly due to the fact that middle-class Americans are disappearing at an alarming rate.

    Aviation is not meant to be solely enjoyed by the rich; if we maintain this ideology we are only inciting the demise of many general aviation airports within our communities. General aviation is in need of a revolution that involves cleaner and more inexpensive fuels, components that have an extended longevity between time changes, and many other core issues. It is up to the next generation of aviators to put down their cell phones and video games and become educated as to their rights as a citizen pilot and to help guide the future of general aviation on to better horizons.

  • James Janota

    It’s been almost 30 years of fighting to get my pilots license. No matter how much I worked, both as I was 11years old. I fought during scouts, middle school, high school, U.S. Army, desert storm vet, working three jobs trying to get enough money for flight lessons. So I don’t even know if you knew that the economy is making it almost impossible for kids to get their private ticket. I am almost 40 years old and have worked my tail off and still haven’t been able to get in the air enough to get my license. So I’d like to say you had better give these kids a lot of money or find them a six figure job or else their dreams will be augured as well.

  • http://northeast-planes.com Elliott Arthur

    I have a dream. I want my small company to grow and become an organization which will live long and prosper many years after I am gone from it. I see many small airports that unless something is done, they will wither and die. I want to bring those airports under one roof, so to speak, so that they may grow by sharing assets and abilities. I want to bring back “your local airport” which offers all of the 7 “slices” of the airport pie, Fuel sales, Maintenance, Flight training, Aircraft rentals, Pilot supplies, Aircraft sales, and Air Taxi Charter. While there are many airports that already have these services, there are far more that only have 2 of the slices, Fuel and Maintenance. Many FBO’s sell only fuel, and many of those cater to the kerosene crowd, leaving those of us who burn 100LL to feel like redheaded stepchildren. I believe this concentration on the “big bucks” is a major contributor to the decline in pilot numbers, simply by working to exclude the newcomers from the crowd. Many cities and counties have taken over their local airports, selling fuel and hangar rentals, but nothing else. I want to return all of these to the fold, so to speak.

    I want to rekindle the aviation fire in our youth by working with high schools and community colleges to expose those students to a variety of aviation careers. One example is a young man that learned to fly at my school, worked in the front office part time, and discovered he liked management better than flying commercially. He now is an assistant airport operations manager at one of the nations busiest airports. His is a true success story in aviation, and it started with an internship at our school while he was in college.

    I always notice the kids and parents peering through the fence at places like Rocky Mountain Metropolitan near Denver. I always try to at least wave and smile, hoping those kids will remember and come back when they get big enough to see over the glareshield. I intend to have multiple “open house” type functions at my airports, just to give youngsters a chance to get up close and personal with airplanes. I fell in love with airplanes at age 9, watching a cropduster near my house on the plains of Colorado. I finally got my license at age 42, and I’ve not looked back.

    We need to recognize that not everyone can nor wants to be a pilot. We need to foster all the different career paths in aviation. It starts with kids too small to even go to school. You just never know what you can spark in them.

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