Here is a general call to all varsity athletes and others in my classes.
Ladies & Gentlemen: Sport – any sport – is part skill, part heart.
And so is life, if you ask me.
Skills take you into the competition. But it is hearts that win matches and deliver games.
Some athletes are ALL skill and ALL heart – ALL at the same time. Michael Jordan of basketball was all heart and all skill, all at the same time.
Time after time, what his skill could not do – there was not much Jordan’s skills could not deal with – his heart delivered.
Andre Agassi of tennis fame was all heart and all skill and it was hard sometimes to figure out which part got the better of him as he oscillated perfectly from one to the other.
Tiger Woods of Golf is a master of stroke play and green strategy, but when Tiger hits a rough patch, it is the heart that drives him to victory.
Lance Armstrong of bicycling fame – and notoriety – is a sorry name to invoke in this context on account of how he pedaled his world bicycling championship career into a doping disgrace.
By any standard, Armstrong's conduct was reprehensible and utterly inexcusable.
But dope or no dope, here is a sober truth that cannot be lightly dismissed: No one beats cancer and then turns around and beats the entire world, not once or twice, but seven times over, to win the impossible odds of Tour de France, without a thorough mastery of cycling skills and a will and determination that can bend steel by just looking at it.
Skills will help you to outperform the opposition. But it is your hearts that will enable you to outstare the “enemy” and seal victory.
So, go ahead and outperform and outstare everyone who is lined up against you today – and this entire season.
Class or no class, this is my lecture to you today. And, I am sure, you have heard it before.
And, by the way, do bear in mind that for my students Not-Winning is not an option.
It never was. And it never will be.