One would sometimes think,
from the speech of young men,
that things had changed recently,
and that indifference was now the virtue to be cultivated.
I have never heard of anyone profess indifference to a boat race.
Why should you sail in a boat race?
Why endure long months of pain and preparation
for a seemingly endless race
that will leave you all but dead?
Does anyone ask the question?
Is there anyone who would not go through all its costs, and more,
for the moment when anguish breaks into triumph,
– or even for the glory of having nobly lost?
Is life less than a boat race?
If a man will give all the blood in his body to win the one,
will he not spend all the might of his soul to prevail in the other?
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Yale Commencement, 1886