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The theater is packed. The lights are down. And energy is way up.
As you glance over the audience of peers, mentors, elders, and haters (we all have them), you realize just how many people are responsible for helping you make it this far. Success is a group effort.
It's hard to breathe in the moment. Your heart is racing. Your palms are sweating. And your knees are as weak as a woman's resistance at a shoe sale.
Thank goodness there's a heavy object in your hands. Something there to mask the awkwardness and nervousness spewing from your body. It will be over before you know it.
"Damn. I should have go to the bathroom before my speech," is what your inner voice says. Your bladder, on the other hand, wants to smack you upside your head. But we all know that can't be a good look. Instead, you put it all out of your head and into your heart. The stage is yours. Own it.
In the midst of your heartfelt speech —threaded with childhood reminiscing, memories of triumph, and how you disproved those who never believed in you —others have somehow managed to steal your moment. A few of them actually answered the call of nature and are excusing themselves to make it out the row and to the bathroom. Others are trying, but failing miserably, to silence ringtones, heckling coughs, and meaningless banter. Didn't they understand how important this was to you?
Your eyes squint as you look towards the light. It's almost as if you are speaking to God directly, but it's evident you want to spread the love to the fans in the seats way up high.
football stock photo by www.pixmac.com
You look out into the audience.
You glance back at your award.
Your heart softens. Your body relaxes. And your eyes glance at the third row, fifth seat.
There, sits a lady. She grips a white handkerchief tightly in her hand, and takes a moment to dab what she thought was waterproof mascara from her eyes. "Cry up mama. Cry up. Remember what Oprah said?!"
Her posture is perfect and she is literally on the edge of her seat. You are embarrassed by her display of technology — a Flip camera, a digital camera, and a smartphone are simultaneously capturing every second of your speech. You'll be forced to sit through narrated playbacks at every family get-together from here on out. Thank you. Technology. I owe you.
As the crowd grows restless and the music begins on cue, you start throwing out names of all those who have helped you get to this point.
Mom is steady smiling, even though she looks like a raccoon because of her mascara meltdown. By now she has enlisted the help of a stranger sitting next to her, and they are now holding the Flip.
And just before the lights fade, the crowd erupts, and the moment fades into the night, you end your speech with this:
"I'd like to thank my mother. She's my biggest fan, my biggest supporter, and my toughest critic. For me, she'll do anything. And that, to me, means everything. Without her, well, you know the rest. I love you mom."
Your eyes meet somewhere in the middle. She presses her fingers against her lips and motions a kiss.
Patient. Overjoyed. Elated. But most of all, she was proud.
And while she didn't need her name to be called or shouted across the room for the world to take note, she knew that the person who was first mentioned (God) was the reason why no one else mattered.
A job well done was in order. This was one for the memory books.
"Man, these soccer banquets are becoming a big deal. I can't wait until next season."