At the request of David Grotefend, I am copying a quote made by Teddy Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, in a speech given in France over a hundred years ago. It was given to me in a plaque by a friend and mentor of mine.
Although issued many years ago, it is still a standard by which I believe all men and women today should be measured whether they are in business, a profession, politics, teaching, social work or any job they happen to be in. The quote follows:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
God Bless Teddy and all my readers who I hope have measured up and who like David will never be with those cold and timid souls!
That’s my story and I am sticking to it.
Milo A. Nickel is the former President and COO of Louisiana State Newspapers.
Where 'The Man’ originated from
Dear Mr. Nickel,
I read your article “The Man” and really enjoy the way you communicate your opinion on matters of local and national politics, education, healthcare, social mores, etc. You show us that common sense is no longer common, that you can’t legislate morality, and that to live in society you must follow the rules, so that the good of all is served.
What everyone may not know is where “The Man” originated. When I was 14, my dad passed away and I was fortunate enough to have the guidance of some important men in my life, and, of course, you were one of them. I hunted and fished with you, spent time listening to words of wisdom, and had the opportunity to hang out with your family and friends.
One thing that I remember was a gift you received from one of your good friends, I will not mention his name although he is one of the most respected men in Acadiana, a quote that was framed and hung in your office. It was from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech at The Sorbonne, in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910. The excerpt was entitled “The Man in the Arena,” it impressed me and I have read the quote to all of my employees over the past 35 years, as well as my children.
Would you please print this letter in your column, The Man, and include the “The Man in the Arena” quote for me. I ask you to do this because I believe that you are this man. You have served Acadiana well and in speaking the truth have received many blows. Thank you for continuing to keep journalism as the medium that keeps countries and people in check, and keeps us on the right path when we get too full of ourselves. You are a great friend and you will always be “The Man” to me. Thank you, Milo.