One of the most endearing aspects of sports are the inspirational stories that transcend what appears to only be a game. These stories of athletes pushing themselves to the edge and beyond are what keeps me so motivated, personally..
When I was in college at Purdue University, my position coach read us a story before a big game against Ohio State, who was nationally ranked at the time (and we upset them that next day by the way), which I’ve always treasured and still refer to every now and then. We were able to do what they said can’t be done. David versus Goliath.
It’s so moving that I thought I would share it here on our blog due to its inspirational worth and a demonstration of what so many of us are capable of, if we are only willing to look deep inside ourselves.
The story is reprinted from Reader’s Digest; November 1950.
One year when Lou Little was coaching Georgetown, there was a youngster on the squad who was no great shakes as a football player, but whose personality served as a morale booster for the whole team. Little was deeply fond of the boy. He liked the proud way he often walked arm in arm with his father on the campus. If the team was far enough ahead, the coach let him get into a game occasionally for the last few minutes of play.
One day, about a week before the big finale with Fordham, the boy’s mother called Little on the phone. “My husband died this morning of a heart attack”, she said. “Will you tell my boy? He’ll take it better if it comes from you.” Little broke the news and the boy went home sorrowfully.
He was back three days later, and came straight to Little, “coach,” he begged, “I want to start in that game against Fordham. I think it’s what my father would have liked most.”
Little hesitated, and then agreed. “O.K., son, you’ll start, but you’ll only be in there for a play or two. You aren’t good enough, and you know it.
True to his word, Little started the boy-but he never took him out. For 60 full, jarring minutes he played inspired football, running, blocking and passing like an All-American, and sparking the team to victory. Back in the clubhouse, Little threw his arm around the boy’s shoulders and said, “Son, you were terrific today. You stayed in there because you belonged there. You never played that kind of football before. What got into you?”
The boy answered, “Remember how my father and I used to go arm in arm? My father was totally blind. This afternoon was the first time he ever saw me play.”
It is said to have been a true story, but who knows? Be that as it may, it certainly has deep meaning for what can be accomplished when one looks deep within oneself and finds extra reserves of ability to accomplish what others say can’t be done.