“Billy Mills was born on June 30, 1938 into poverty on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home of the Oglala Sioux. His family, which consisted of 15 members, experienced tragedy. Billy’s mom died when he was 7, and his dad died when he was 12. The orphaned Billy was sent to a boarding school for Native Americans in Kansas. During this time, he began running and became a state high school champion in the mile run.

[He earned a track and field and cross-country scholarship to the University of Kansas. And when he graduated he joined the U.S. Marine Corps and began training for the 1964 Olympics]. During this time he was running literally tens of thousands of miles.

He made the 1964 Olympic team in the 10,000-meter run and the marathon.

The 10,000-meter race proved to be a cliff-hanger. Four times during the race Billy was on the verge of falling out of contention, but each time he fell behind, he would say over and over to himself, “One more try, one more try.” It was his way of keeping focused.

Billy Mills became a legend when he crossed the finish line to take the gold medal and set a new Olympic Record of 28:24.4. He finished just four-tenths of a second ahead of another runner named Gammoudi. The expected winner Clarke was third at 28:25.87. Billy Mills, however, finished 46 seconds ahead of his personal best!” (excerpt from the United Sates Olympic Committee Curriculum Series)

The thing about persistence is that it is found isolated and surrounded by pain, indecision, lack of desire or rationalizing against continuing the pursuit of whatever you were attempting. In order for persistence to be revealed you will go through one of those things, or else it is not persistence. Rather, it’s just an action meeting an open door of opportunity – happiness/unhindered passion. But for it to be persistence someone had to have closed the door on you or maybe bad circumstances closed the door on you.

The season has already started for fall sports. And the pre-season workouts seem like they extend all day long. Throughout the season anything can try to close the door of opportunity. It could be an injury, poor performance in practice or game day, poor academics, or your bad attitude. Or maybe the teams in your conference has closed the door on your season already. Remember why you are attempting to be great at your sport and the virtues it is helping to be noticed in you.

The distance between good and great is one more step…one more try, one more try. When it comes to what you want to be great at, Never Quit…Always Keep Pushing Forward! You have a team around you, lean on them.

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One response

  1. Right word at the right time for me. Adversity and pain are temporary and when seen through the right lenses, they offer opportunity. Without the challenge, you cannot champion; without the struggle you cannot break free; without the roadblock, you cannot overcome.
    Persecution = opportunity = Perseverance = Breakthrough

    Champions get to the finish line, goal, hoop, etc, one breakthrough at a time.

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