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Zocalo Public Square 

A few weeks before my grandmother died, a hawk appeared at my window. It came in the form of a shadow that swept across the patio. The figure then sat on the outdoor dining chair. It took me a few seconds to realize it was not a crow—its talons and beak were too enormous. And then my eyes took in the beauty of its feathers, a pattern of white dots, and a red tipped-tail. We stared at each other for several seconds, and then the hawk flew away.



The Olympics are about individual accomplishment, but they are also enveloped in national pride.

Los Angeles Times

This year, as I do every four years, I will watch the opening ceremonies at the Olympics and cry. It won’t be out of idealism or patriotism but regret. I was an Olympic-caliber athlete, and I decided not to compete for a spot in the 1992 Barcelona Games. I made up my mind in a haze of chlorine and in the midst of anger and confusion about my national identity. Sometimes hard work doesn’t pay off the way you wish it would. Sometimes, the biggest obstacle to success is your own mind.