Even so, one might be excused for the occasional flinch, the momentary outburst, the reflexive grunt when struck. No one ever said that dragons die easily. In fact they are renowned for being tough, clever, persistent and crafty enemies. They will seldom go down without giving almost as good as they get, inflicting injury and harm wherever they can strike. So Dragon Slayers get hit. A lot. It goes with the territory. When you step out of the castle and onto the battleground, you give up the safety of the walls and you are fairly begging to take one on the chin. Does it really matter that much if you made noise when the tail whacked you? Or is it more important that you simply got up to go at it again?
And there is the real issue. It is one thing to stand there and take the hit. It is another to rise again after uncounted knock downs to attack with vigor and intrepid fortitude.
Teddy Roosevelt was a dragon slayer. He understood this well.
It is not the critic that counts – not the one who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. No, the credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood – who spends himself in a worthy cause, whose heart knows the great enthusiasm and the great devotions. If they succeed, they know in the end the triumph of high achievement; but if they fail they at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be among those cold and timid souls which know neither victory nor defeat.
Victory is not mine, yet. Let me just say….at least I am still standing, and that counts for something.