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One of the books that I’m reading at the moment is Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, the story of Louie Zamperoni that has recently been made into a movie. Whilst his story is inspirational enough, Laura’a done a great job of writing about him, so this post is about one of the guys who inspired Zamperoni, Glenn Cunningham.
At the age of 8, Cunningham’s legs were badly burned in a school fire that killed his older brother, Floyd.
The doctor’s recommended that Glenn’s legs be amputated, but he protested to his parents and he kept them. However, his injuries were so bad that doctors said that he wouldn’t ever be able to walk normally again.
In a wide-ranging recent interview, former Boston Celtics legend and current Washington Wizards veteran Paul Pierce discussed the advice that his gives to the young stars on his team:
“I talk to them a lot about mental preparation and consistency,” Pierce said. “I keep telling (John) Wall and (Bradley) Beal, ‘You’ve got to make up your mind. Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great? Because if you want to be great, you gotta do it every single night, not just when you feel like it.”
Do I get an amen?
Yesterday afternoon, my 10 year old son Hayden said that he didn’t think that he would be able to make it to the AFL (Australia’s highest league for Australian rules football). He thought that maybe a lower league was more achievable.
I looked at him with pride and said, “Let’s not put a ceiling on that goal just yet, the sky is still the limit, so let’s keep training hard and see what happens.”
Maybe he won’t make it to the AFL.
Maybe he will get distracted and try something else.
Maybe he won’t put the work in or just doesn’t have the talent.
Maybe he will get injured and that will hold him back.
But I’m not going to put a cap on his (or my other kids’) aspirations.
On the weekend, Real Madrid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo amazed us once again with an extraordinary 5 goals during his team’s 9-1 trouncing of Granada. This included a hat-trick within 8 minutes and his performance was as close to perfection from an athlete as you could expect.
But not according to the man himself.
Ronaldo once said, “If you think that you’re already perfect, then you never will be.”
Despite his obvious talent and natural skill, Ronaldo’s work ethic is legendary. Since a very young age, he has pushed himself on the training track harder than most of contemporaries, developing his skills and physical capabilities to a level reached by very few athletes.
It’s true in sport and it’s true in life.
You won’t make a sale if you don’t make a pitch.
You won’t get published if you don’t start typing.
You won’t buy a house if you don’t make a bid.
He told them that athletes make decisions, not sacrifices to be successful.
In Emma’s words, “If you think that having a healthy diet is a sacrifice then you’re wrong, yes moving away from family and spending time on your own is hard, but it’s a decision and you can choose not to do it.”
It struck me that I use the word sacrifice too much.
Coach Smith was a universally respected figure who nurtured the college careers of over 50 future NBA players, including superstars Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
He was a great teacher and leader who led his teams to 2 NCAA Championships and when he retired, had won more games than any other basketball coach in Division 1 college history.
But one of his most influential teachings was the introduction of pointing to the passer, whereby any player who scored a basket would acknowledge the team-mate who gave them the ball. It’s a habit that is now seen after almost every score on almost every court across the world and is even utilised in other sports as well.
One of the books that I’m reading at the moment is inspirational athlete Kurt Fearnley’s autobiography. He tells a range of stories including the philosophy of legendary rugby league coach Phil Gould.
According to Fearnley, Gould believed that all athletes had a voice in the back of their minds that told them it was acceptable to take short cuts. To not run when they were fatigued; to stay down and feign injury so that they could have a little rest; to not dive or get their body in line for a tackle because they might cop a knock.
But winners didn’t listen to that little voice. Read the rest of this entry »
It seems as though Rickey had always wanted to be a millionaire, so when he received a bonus cheque for a million dollars from the Oakland A’s, instead of cashing it, he had it framed and put on his wall to display for all to see.
It wasn’t until he received a phone call from the slightly flustered A’s finance department, who suggested that he display a photocopy, that he went to the bank and cashed the cheque.
After their first foray into the AFL finals in many years in 2013, the Richmond Football Club had big, bold plans for 2014.
The team had improved every year under coach Damien Hardwick and were ready to launch themselves at the top of the ladder in his fifth season at the helm.
But the start of the year didn’t go according to plan, with key injuries, poor performances and confidence dropping by the week, resulting in a 3-10 start to the season. This placed the Tigers equal bottom of the ladder with nine games to go.
They were written off by everyone else, as finals seemed a mathematical impossibility. No team had ever recovered from such a shambolic start and the underachieving Tigers didn’t seem like the kind of club that could beat the odds.
But they dared to dream.