In the arena
Mavericks are doers, not spectators
More than 2,800 students graduated from UT Arlington last month, and I was glad to celebrate the accomplishments of our newest alumni. During my remarks at commencement, I asked them to use what they learned here to make a difference in their community and the country. And I asked them to be participants in life, rather than spectators.
Members of the Class of 2006, like all our alumni, are capable of great victories. But the secret to success is not only possessing good qualities and great minds…but using them!
It’s difficult sometimes, I said, but don’t be discouraged by those who say you shouldn’t, you wouldn’t, you won’t or you can’t. We’re mavericks. And mavericks blaze their own trails, persevere in the face of adversity, and never, ever give up. There are plenty of examples of true mavericks in the pages of this magazine.
One of my favorite figures in American history is Theodore Roosevelt, who was in every sense a maverick. Even though he was president 100 years ago, his approach to life still resonates. He said: “The credit belongs to those who are actually in the arena, whose faces are marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strive valiantly; who err, and fall short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at best know the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
There is an arena in everyone’s life. Yours and mine. Either you’re in the arena, working hard, trying your best, with sweat in your eyes and dirt on your face, or you’re a spectator who only observes those in the arena. Either you’re effecting change, striving for success and blazing new trails, or you’re watching others do it.
Mavericks belong in the arena.
Mavericks are doers.
Mavericks aren’t confined to their comfort zone, but work and serve others anywhere they can to make a difference in the arena of their lives.
Whatever you’re doing today, and whether you graduated in 2006 or 1946, I encourage you to always be a maverick. Always live the life you have chosen in the arena.
— James D. Spaniolo