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One of the more remarkable stories from the Rio Paralympics is Egyptian table tennis player, Ibrahim Hamadtou.
At the age of 10, Ibrahim lost both of his arms in a train accident, so you would think that table tennis is an odd choice of sport.
But this extraordinary man was not to be daunted, holding the paddle with his teeth and serving by throwing the ball into the air with his toes.
Yes, you read that right.
Tennis great Novak Djokovic is quoted as saying,
“I try to approach every single day, whether it’s a match day or a practice day, with the right mindset and knowing that this will eventually pay off down the road.”
I’m sure that there are days when he doesn’t feel like training hard. When it would be just as easy to take it easy and do the bare minimum.
Over the next two weeks, we will be watching and cheering athletes from around the globe as they perform remarkable deeds for national glory and an elusive gold medal.
As we know, the Olympics come around every four years and give athletes the chance to prove themselves against the best in the world.
That’s a lot of pressure on one event.
If you have a false start, come down with the flu, slip at the wrong time or are the victim of a dodgy refereeing decision, it’s a long time to wait for redemption.
But of course, these athletes don’t just turn up every four years and randomly expect phenomenal results.
Today was the NBA Draft, always an exciting day for a hoops fan like me. My Celtics had the third pick in draft and they selected Jaylen Brown. I don’t know much about Jaylen, so I did some research and found this quote from him from earlier this month:
“A lot of people want to get to the level of a Kobe Bryant, but nobody wants to put in the work that he did.”
Now, I have to be honest, as a Boston fan, I never really liked Kobe, but I always admired him.
His work ethic was legendary and turned a prodigious young talent into one of the all-time greats of the game.
I’m a massive sports fan.
It doesn’t matter what the game is, if there’s a ball and two teams, I’ll happily pick a side and start cheering.
I love a close contest and find myself getting engrossed in the tension of the struggle.
I can still remember holding my daughter Madison when she was just a baby as John Terry hit the woodwork on a penalty that resulted in my beloved Manchester United winning the European Championship. I nearly threw her up into the air in my excitement.
But then there are the boring, one-sided, inevitable results and the long countdown to the end of the game.
In basketball, if the result is beyond doubt, the side with possession will just dribble the ball and count down the final few seconds of the game.
After a terrible week of results for Manchester United, midfielder Juan Mata wrote on his blog, “Words are not enough… and the only thing to turn that anger into happiness is through good results, not words.”
He can say that they will improve, or they can actually perform better on the pitch.
As a fan, that’s what I want to see, but as a coach, I can see the application in a broader sense.
We can all say that we want to live a great life and be successful, or we can do the hard work required to live a great life and be successful.
I love basketball and seeing Australian athletes shine on the big stage, so to see Andrew Bogut and Matt Dellavedova starting for the two NBA Finalists, the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Andrew Bogut was the first pick in his draft year and he has been in the league for many years, so it’s not such a surprise to see him there, but Matt Dellavedova is another story.
So what’s so inspiring about him? Read the rest of this entry »
Earlier this week I stumbled across the inspiring story of 92-year-old Harriette Thompson, who successfully ran a marathon in San Diego over the weekend.
She ran it in just over 7 hours and it was her 16th completed marathon.
What an extraordinary achievement!
As I consider Harriette’s phenomenal performance, I think that there are three things that we can learn from her: Read the rest of this entry »
He was a highly motivating coach. His fiery messages as coach of the Melbourne Football Club gave him the nickname, “The Reverend” and his players went to battle for him every week.
And away from football, Neale is highly regarded for his affable nature, warm smile, fierce loyalty to family and friends and sense of humour.
Tragically, last year he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) an insidious illness for which there is no cure and no treatment.
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.