The Adversity Quotient

This post is by Collab Fund from Collab Fund

A friend recently shared an article from The Harvard Crimson’s 2022 “Senior Perspectives,” which is a publication that provides an opportunity for graduating varsity athletes to reflect on their careers. This particular article was authored by a senior named Charlie Olmert.

To my surprise, Olmert didn’t highlight a big goal or an Ivy League title. He didn’t reflect on helping his team make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 or being elected captain his senior season. Instead, he pointed to a text his grandfather would send him after each game.

This quote was from the final stanza of a 19th century poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson named “Ulysses” in which Ulysses reflects on his life shortly after returning from the Trojan War. It reads,

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield

After reading these lines, I immediately wondered why? Why did Olmert’s grandfather choose a poem about the hero from Homer’s The Odyssey?

The fact that he has been a Classics professor at The University of Maryland for more than three decades sheds some light, but it doesn’t explain why he chose these precise lines. As I read on though, the answer revealed itself.

While Olmert had been a (Read more…)