The Cradles of Eminence in Sports, Pt. 2: The Triumph of the Human Spirit

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
The Cradles of Eminence in Sports, Pt. 2: The Triumph of the Human Spirit

"Pain builds courage; you can't be strong, brave, and a winner if only good things happen to you. You have to go through tough times to find what you're really capable of."

We all succumb to our problems and frustrations. It is those problems and frustrations, however small that they may seem, that always remain the biggest in our eyes.

In these difficult times we are paranoid about everything; perhaps we are all loyal consumers of caffeine. We are anxious about passing our cover-to-cover exams, impressing our closed-minded boss, and budgeting our teenie-weenie allowances.

On a funny note, there aren't any big hurdles in accomplishing that.

We are still fortunate to be answering our exams, while every nine seconds, a student in America becomes a dropout; not to mention the millions of out-of-school youth in places like Afghanistan, Niger, or the Philippines (no offense meant to the respective countries).

We are much more fortunate to have a boss (and/or bosses), while there are thousands of blue-collar and white-collar workers who are losing their jobs due to the financial crisis experienced worldwide.

We are very fortunate to have our allowances, while there are plenty of people out there who are starving or searching in trash cans for the remains of a meal to feed the pains of hunger.

If you were to dig deeper you would realize that there are bigger problems, with bigger obstacles, accomplished by not-so-big individuals.

Life is not a matter of hindrances, but a matter of attitude. That attitude, ladies and gentlemen, is very much profoundly found in sports.

Bethany Hamilton, an American surfer, survived a shark attack in which she lost her arm. Despite that incident, she did not lose hope. In 2005, with one arm, she ranked first in the NSSA National Championships; a goal she had been trying to achieve since before the shark attack.

The big heart of a soul surfer.

Marla Runyan was nine years old when she was diagnosed as being blind. Doctors and experts expected a life with a grade of "C", but Runyan proved all the doubters wrong.

After hours of intense of training, Runyan made something out of herself. She is now the holder of three United States' 1,500 meter titles, a USA indoor 3000 meter champion, a two-time Olympian, and a truly inspirational individual.

In 2004 Frank Mir had a motorcylce accident that broke his femur, and tore all of the ligaments in his knee. In spite of that, he never gave up on life. He underwent major surgery and is now one of the biggest UFC attractions.

Aimee Mullins is an American athlete, actress, and fashion model who competed against able-bodied NCAA Division-I athletes and set Paralympic records in 1996 in Atlanta.

James Edwin Otto, a pro-football Hall of Famer, graced the NFL for 15 years and suffered a heavy toll on his body. This resulted in nearly 40 surgeries, including 28 knee operations. He almost died on the operating table one time, and fought three life-threatening bouts of infection.

Otto had his leg amputated in 2007. He is handicapped, but he says that he wouldn't change a thing if given the opportunity to do it over again.

Zach Gowen, a professional wrestler who competed on Smackdown and TNA was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. He lost his leg at the age of eight.

Gowen walks with a prosthesis and claims he can wrestle with or without it. He wrestles without it, however, due perhaps to marketability. Nevertheless, he is a determined individual.

On May 27, 1998, Tom Whittaker, with his artificial leg, reached the summit of Mount Everest. It was a life-long dream that many have and will not achieve. He is the first person with a disability to reach the summit.

Through training, his prosthetic foot became an advantage, rather than a disadvantage, in achieving this remarkable feat.

Boy, with that kind of backdrop, many of us would have failed.

The kind of attitude that these individuals have holds them steady to the ground, very much profound in sports. In these tough times, what we need is attitude, not only the definition, but also the application.

We might experience mistakes and setbacks, but with the right mindset, a big heart, and the truest application of attitude, these mistakes and setbacks will later carry us through to success.

Friends, the kind of attitudes that these individuals possess is not only profound in sports, hence, it is very much profound in you.