Sunday, June 12, 2011

Inspired: I am a Champion

I’m getting antsy.  I don’t have a race in the near future.  Everyone I know has big races coming up in the next few weeks and I actively support them but I am a tad jealous…My training is intense but there is an air about it that is uninspired.  I’ve always been a sucker for motivational videos.  I tear up EVERY time I hear the National Anthem on race days or before games.  Even growing up, I was always an emotional athlete.  Playing with heart and guts and leaving it all out on the playing field. 

My family is from Green Bay so the “What it Takes to Be #1” Vince Lombardi speech was on the wall in our family room.  My favorite quote (which is memorized by the way) is: “I don't say these things because I believe in the "brute" nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle — victorious."



Running is an individual sport and I see my competition not in other runners but in pain, in miles, in wanting to quit, in weakness and injury.  When I race, I set goals for myself but I train with friends and partners and value the laps, miles, blood, sweat and tears I’ve logged with them.  My training partners are my family.  When I run, I run for who I am today, for the weaker person I used to be, I run for my children who are completely unimpressed  but who make me always want to be better.  I run for the training partners and friends who have sacrificed time, actively pushed me, made me stronger, and who show up toeing the line with me or on the sidelines. 

One of my favorite speeches is from the the Head Football Coach of the Chester High School Cyclones – Coach Maurice Flowers, who gave this inspirational speech to his JV squad at halftime.  It’s something that never fails to raise goose bumps on my body when I hear it.  His passion, his heart, his inspiration is moving and no doubt he’s changed the lives of the young people he has coached over the last 14 years.  I have highlighted my favorite parts.

I AM A CHAMPION!
I will conquer what has not been conquered.
Defeat will not be in my creed.
I will believe what others have doubted.
I will always endeavor to pull esteem, honor, and respect out of my team.
I have trained my mind and my body will follow.
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!

I will acknowledge the fact that my opponent does not expect me to win.
But I will never surrender.
Weakness will not be in my heart.
I will look to my comrades and to those who are a part of me in this world and those who have trained me.
And I will draw strength from them.

Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!

I will gladly go out into the field of battle,
And I will move in everything I can do.
And I will reach my field of battle by any means at my disposal
And when I get there, I will arrive violently.
I will rip the heart from my enemy, and leave it bleeding on the ground,
Because he cannot stop me. 
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!

To my side I have comrades, comrades that have been with me through thick and thin
Who have sacrificed their blood, sweat and tears.
Never will I let them fall, never will I let them down, and I will never leave an enemy behind.
Because our opponent does not know my heart.
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!

No one will deny me, no one will define me.
And no one will tell me who and what I am and can be.
Belief will change my world.

It has moved continents, it has moved countries, it has put men on the moon
And it will carry me through this battle.
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!

Defeat, retreat: those are not in my words
I don't understand those definitions
I don't understand when things go wrong
I don't understand mistakes
But I do understand this:
I understand victory.
And I understand never surrendering.
No matter how bad things go my heart and my mind will carry my body through when my limbs are weak.

Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!

Today will be that day
Not tomorrow, not next week, but right now, right here.

In your house and in your homes.
Who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!


History will remember me!
I will not let worrying affect my cause.
I will define myself.
I will write my own pages.
And no one will tell me what I cannot be.
I will never give up.
Not until I've given everything I got.
Because who am I?
I AM A CHAMPION!