Cherish Your Champions

This week is Thanksgiving, and we’ll all be taking stock of the many things we have to be thankful for. For those of us who love Claire Dalrymple Watkins, this week will also mark one year since we lost this magnificent young woman to breast cancer. But this post isn’t about that. I could think of no better way to honor Claire, and simultaneously observe Thanksgiving, than to talk about how grateful I am that she was always one of my biggest champions.

We all need champions. If there’s anyone who doesn’t experience moments of insecurity, I haven’t met them. Each of us have demons that make us wonder: Am I good enough? Do I have what it takes? What if I can’t do it? In those moments, there’s only one thing to do: seek out your champions.

And by champion, I don’t mean someone who tells you what you want to hear. Instead, a champion is the person who tells you what you need to hear. Sometimes forcefully. Most of us have these people in our lives. An ally who give us a prodding when we need it (or sometimes a swift kick in the derrière), but who also feels passionately about our unlimited potential and what we’re capable of, and will tell us so emphatically and without reservation.

Claire knew how to be blunt – and the fact that she doled out the whole truth, coupled with her joie de vivre, inspired others to follow. She was a champion not just to me, but to many. It’s no coincidence that this champion was one of those people who did things the rest of us think about doing, but worry we can’t pull off. She wore hats. She ran half-marathons. She had a well-organized gift-wrapping station, knew how to bake complicated cookie recipes, and was the artisan behind truly inspired jewelry designs. But most of all Claire put her family far above everything else in life, and her friends were part of her extended family. Even now that she’s gone, I sometimes hear Claire’s voice in my head, urging me forward.

So when that devil on your shoulder is trying to have his way with you, telling you not to try new things, declaring that you should settle for the status quo because you’re never going to do better, don’t hesitate! Call up one of your champions immediately to get a pep talk (and a little dose of tough love, if needed).

And then give thanks for that person, and and cherish what they bring to your life.

  • Nancy King

    Beautiful Kellye— absolutely every word of it was true and beautiful– just like Claire, and just like friends like you!
    Love,
    Nancy

  • Great article. I think this is a good reminder of the need to have honest friends. Thanks for reminder. Claire sounds wonderful.

  • Just beautiful. Thanks for the share and thanks for reminder to celebrate those we can still hear cheering us on even though they have gone on.

    Keli’s last blog post..Cultural Beliefs

  • Kellye, I did not know Claire but tears welled up in my eyes as I read your post. I am so thankful for those who are and have been champions in my life and only hope that I can be that to others. I can think of no greater legacy to leave than loving and supporting those who cross your path. This is a wonderful tribute and reminder. You are truly wonderful Kellye; Claire would be proud.

    Karen Swim’s last blog post..Waiting for the Train

  • Kellye Crane

    Thanks to you all for commenting — so glad this post rings true to you. Feel free to let us know in the comments who your champions have been (I know you’ve got ’em!).

  • Michele Price

    I loved your post, we all not only need to have champions in our lives, we need to BE champions in others lives.

    Who;s champion will you BE!

    Michele Price’s last blog post..Movement in Meditation-What Get’s You There?

  • Beth

    AMEN! Will do!

  • Jen Wilbur

    Thoughtful, eloquent post, Kellye. I wish I would have known Claire. Everyone needs champions – and everyone should be a champion for others.

  • Kellye Crane

    Thanks Michelle, Beth and Jen — nice of you to point out that we should also take the time out to make ourselves advocates for others. Generosity of spirit is the one characteristic that all champions have in common!

  • earmstrong

    Such a nicely written post! Wow! I wish I knew Claire. You’re right we all need to give thanks for our champions – even those that irk us sometimes. They are the ones that most often motivate us to greatness.

  • Christie

    Thanks Kellye, I have read and observed what others have thought about Claire and been overwhelmed by the impact she had on people. She was a beloved family member who is sorely missed and although some of the memories have been painful, they have all been meaningful. You have described her way of life and spirit beautifully. What you wrote made me feel as if, just for a moment, she was still here. Christie D.