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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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Writer and avid runner, Haruki Marukami once interviewed the great Japanese marathon runner Toshihiko Seko, soon after he had retired from running.

He asked him, “Does a runner at your level ever feel like you’d rather not run today, like you don’t want to run and would rather just sleep in?”

Seko stared at the writer and then simply and sternly replied, “Of course. All the time!”

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With the sad, untimely passing of tennis great Jana Novotna at the young age of 49, I stumbled across a beautiful quote from the Duchess of Kent after Jana lost the Wimbledon Final to Steffi Graf in 1993.

Jana was almost inconsolable, when the Duchess leaned over and whispered, “I know you will win it one day, don’t worry.”

Five years later, those words proved prophetic when she eventually won the Wimbledon final in 1998.

We all come across people who have lost hope.

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It’s easy for NFL teams to settle for field goals.

They get reasonable field position, but don’t want to risk getting that far without getting something in return, so they take the kick, bank the 3 points and try to get a stop on defense.

It’s safe.

It’s almost guaranteed.

It’s still a score.

But what if they could do better?

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50,000 people finished the recent NYC Marathon.

50,000 people signed up and believed that they could do it.

50,000 people trained for months to build up their running capacity.

50,000 people turned up to the starting line.

50,000 people started with enthusiasm.

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After Richmond’s extraordinary win in last weekend’s AFL Grand Final, media shy star Dustin Martin was asked how the team handled their nerves before the big game.

He simply said, “Our desire to succeed has outweighed our fear of failure.”

A team that has so often underachieved on big stages was able to perform brilliantly under the brightest of lights.

A team that has so often buckled under the weight of the expectations of their long-suffering fans finally threw off that burden to play with flair and freedom.

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