No Regrets | By: Steve Goodier | | Category: Short Story - Inspiration Bookmark and Share

No Regrets


Not many people have heard of Bill Havens. But Bill became an unlikely
hero of sorts - at least among those who knew him best. Here is his

At the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, the sport of canoe racing was
added to the list of international competitions. The favorite team in
the four-man canoe race was the United States team. One member of that
team was a young man by the name of Bill Havens.

As the time for the Olympics neared, it became clear that Billís wife
would give birth to their first child about the time that the US team
would be competing in the Paris games. In 1924 there were no jet
airliners from Paris to the United States, only slow ocean-going
ships. And so Bill found himself in a dilemma. Should he go to Paris
and risk not being at his wifeís side when their baby was born? Or
should he withdraw from the team and remain with his family?

Billís wife insisted that he go to Paris. After all, competing in the
Olympics was the culmination of a life-long dream. But Bill felt
conflicted and, after much soul-searching, decided to withdraw from
the competition and remain home where he could support his wife when
the child arrived. He considered being at her side his highest
priority - even higher than going to Paris to fulfill his dream.

As it turned out, the United States four-man canoe team won the gold
medal in Paris. And Billís wife was late in giving birth to their
child. She was so late, in fact, that Bill could have competed in the
event and returned home in time to be with her when she gave birth.

People said, "What a shame." But Bill said he had no regrets. For the
rest of his life, he believed he had made the better decision. Bill
Havens knew what was most important to him. Not everybody figures that
out. And he acted on what he believed was best. Not everybody has the
strength of character to say no to something he or she truly wants in
order to say yes to something that truly matters. But for Bill, it was
the only way to peace; the only way to no regrets. There is an
interesting sequel to the story of Bill Havens.Ö

The child eventually born to Bill and his wife was a boy, whom they
named Frank. Twenty-eight years later, in 1952, Bill received a
cablegram from Frank. It was sent from Helsinki, Finland, where the
1952 Olympics were being held. The cablegram read: "Dad, I won. Iím
bringing home the gold medal you lost while waiting for me to be

Frank Havens had just won the gold medal for the United States in the
canoe-racing event, a medal his father had dreamed of winning but
never did. Like I said - no regrets.

Thomas Kinkade eloquently said, "When we learn to say a deep,
passionate yes to the things that really matter... then peace begins
to settle onto our lives like golden sunlight sifting to a forest
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