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The NBA season started today and in the first game of the season, after young Boston star Jayson Tatum started complaining about a dodgy call, his coach, Brad Stevens yelled out to him, “Hey, next play!”

It’s great leadership and a great reminder to us all that there will be times when things don’t go our way.

Not every decision will go in our favour.

You will make mistakes.

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Marathon runners often talk about finding their second wind.

It’s that moment when they think that they can’t go for much longer, but somehow their body gets another burst of energy and they are able to keep going.

Are you tired?

Do you feel  as though you can’t go for much longer?

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I don’t claim to know what hurdles are in front of you, but I do know that they are there.

It would be nice if the track ahead was smooth and without obstacles, but that’s rarely the case.

So what do you do with the hurdles in front of you?

Do you consider them too difficult, making them seem higher than they really are and giving up before you’ve really tried?

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There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a big race.

The runners line up, the crowd becomes silent and for a moment everything pauses until…

Bang!!!!!

And in a flurry of arms and legs, the athletes propel themselves around the track.

Today, I want to ask you who fires your starting pistol?

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“It’s hard to beat moments like this, and it’s hard to beat teams that act like this.”

Last night, Reece Conca played his 100th game for the Richmond Football Club.  He’s a popular club-man, best known within the club for his “Conca cuddle” celebrations with team-mates after they have kicked a goal.

It’s been a long journey to get to 100 as he has had terrible luck with injury throughout his career.

And then, 15 minutes into his milestone game, he suffered a dislocated ankle that left him writhing in agony.

As a fan, it was hard to watch such a fine young man suffer such pain and heartbreak, but what happened next was both inspiring and heart warming.

After he was loaded onto the stretcher to be taken from the ground and off to hospital, every single team-mate who was on the ground came up to support and acknowledge their fallen soldier.

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Before you make the game-winning shot, you’ve got to take the game-winning shot.

Before you take the game-winning shot, you’ve got to have the confidence to take it.

Before you have the confidence, you’ve got to develop the skills required to support your belief.

Before you develop the skills, you’ve got to train and train and train so that you have the physical conditioning required to get yourself in a position to shoot the ball.

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After graduating from the little known American University, basketball guard Andre Ingram went undrafted by the NBA, so he did what many other players do and plied his craft in the G League, hoping that he could continue to improve his skills and eventually make it to the big time.

That was 10 years ago!

10 years of dreaming.

10 years of praying.

10 years of hard work.

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In football, it is common practice for a team to waste time late in the second half when they hold a slender lead.

Players start rolling around the pitch as if they have been shot.

Defenders cynically kick the ball away unnecessarily.

Goalkeepers take too long to deliver the ball to their outfielders.

It’s a blight on the game, but it’s expected and it’s the referee’s job to hand out yellow cards for such offences, while the player pleads his innocence.

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After winning the Super Bowl MVP award this week, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was asked what he would want people to take away from his journey.  Nick responded with this inspirational quote:

I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. In our society today, Instagram, Twitter, it’s a highlight reel. It’s all the good things. When you look at it, you think, like, wow, when you have a rough day, your life’s not as good as that, you’re failing.

Failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be?

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Extraordinary blind long jumper Lex Gillette tells a story about when he was jumping for his high school at an event at the University of North Carolina about 8 years after he became blind.

Coach Brian Whitmer was his long jump caller, which meant that he was responsible for clapping and yelling so that Lex would know where to run and jump from.

They had a horrible start.  The coach’s claps were drowned out by the cheering fans, who were amplified by the indoor stadium and his voice just echoed through the stadium.

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