This award goes to someone who has pursued a goal and persevered in the face of fear or uncertainty.
Quiet and meek are not usually the top characteristics I look for or gravitate to in a friend. Yet, this year I found myself being more and more impressed with Jeanette. We are both enrolled in Shaolin Kung Fu, a very aggressive, combative martial art.
As we both advanced in our belt level, the contact became more aggressive, leading us to hit harder, stay focused longer, and even grapple on the ground in situations that, though set up to be safe, can rattle even tough guys. When we first moved to this level, I saw Jeanette as delicate. She rattled easily and allowed her emotions to take over quickly. However, throughout this year, I have been impressed…and even a little intimidated…by the way she has taken hold of what she is learning.
I have gained a lot of respect for the way she obviously thinks through the strategies we learn and then works to apply them when sparring. I admire the way she perseveres on the mat. Though it is obvious that fear takes over sometimes and she would like to stop, she continues. Because of her determination, she has improved. Immensely.
Courage is an admirable quality no matter what. However, when someone is quiet and meek and takes on an aggressive sport, that courage and determination becomes much more admirable.