Sometimes I get to a place that I think all people end up in at one point or another. It is a monster that we all must encounter throughout our lives. It a place where I feel I can’t go any farther, where my motivation begins to run dry. Whether it’s to be a better student, a better athlete, or a better person I am consumed by this feeling, and I just want to quit. I want to drop to my knees, or yell in frustration, or try to put my fist through the drywall next to my bed.
I’m ashamed of those feelings. I’m ashamed of letting myself get to such a place, especially after hearing a story such as this one. When I stumbled onto the video above about Hayward Demison III’s story of suffering a heart attack while playing a high-school football game- it reminded that I don’t have it so bad. Hayward had every excuse to quit, and even after he decided to take the risk and persevere, he had every excuse to not challenge himself. He could have stopped trying, if only just a little bit, to be the best he could be. But try he did. What right do I have to throw in the towel if he could go through everything he did, and still not give up on his dream? Having been told no the whole way, having been told it was impossible and to just give it up, may have just fueled him to work that much harder.
To me, Hayward’s story is more than just a sobering reminder of how easy I have it. It also makes me remember why I’m willing to suffer through the pain and frustration and exhaustion. It inspires in me the willingness to sacrifice my own comfort in order to achieve my goals as well as deserve the effort and trust of every last one of my teammates.
If a man who literally came back from the dead can push so hard, so can I. And that’s what it’s all about. Success can be measured in many ways, but there is a value that I believe is required to succeed, and that value is heart. What separates those that will succeed from those that will inevitably fail is the determination to go on, no matter what the consequences may be for themselves in the short-term, in pursuit of their passion. Success in my mind is not always measured on something concrete such as a scoreboard. Success is the ability to turn to the person next to you, win or lose, and be able to tell them with no doubt in your mind and in complete honesty that you laid it all on the line for them. That you took no short cuts, that you spared no expense, that you could not have done one more thing to achieve your purpose. It is this definition of success that inspires me to study longer, to train harder in the off-season, and to be a better person.