As I was watching some of the Ravens versus Colts playoff game yesterday, I wasn’t as much interested in the outcome of the game as I was in watching Ray Lewis play his last home game, less than 3 months after tearing his triceps.
Injuries are part of the game when you are an athlete and Ray Lewis was unfortunate in suffering such a severe injury so close to the end of his career. But to watch him play yesterday, with reckless abandon, with no regards to his physical body, was truly a thing of beauty. And the topic of sports injuries is something that I have taken great interest in after my knee injury last spring. Its not the physical healing that ends most athletic careers; it’s the fear that becomes ingrained into your mind that will do you in.
Ray was able to play with such intensity yesterday without fear because his spirit is much more powerful than his physical body will ever be. Could he have called it quits after getting injured and just retired without playing during the playoffs? Sure he could have, but that’s what a lesser champion would have done. And regardless of what you think of his past, the man is a champion and once a champion, you are always a champion. It is a mindset that is well worth going after. I can guarantee you that Ray Lewis didn’t set out to get a certain amount of tackles each year or to get his bench press up to a certain number, but rather he set out to be great every day.
I see it all the time with athletes and clients at Newell Strength, people want immediate gratification. But the pendulum of life doesn’t reward those that are looking for immediate gratification. The athlete that steps up to the task at hand is the one that I want on my team. The one that knows he/she might be a long shot, but goes forward with full intensity anyway, those are the ones that will become champions. The athletes and trainees that skip out on the hard stuff don’t have less value as people, its just that they have yet to develop a champions mindset. Most of them never will, because that is the 99% rule, but it doesn’t mean they can’t.
An allegiance to an old injury or a diet or a contest will get you nowhere and you will be stuck on ‘Someday Isle (I’ll)’ with all the other average people out there. What is your legacy going to be when it’s all said in done? Are you a talker or a doer? Examples are set by our actions, not by what we say. And Ray Lewis is leaving us all with a great example of a champion and a leader that we may not see again in sports for some time. Be great today…