The Heart Of A Champion


Photo credit: AlaskaTeacher

The other night, the fall sports awards were held at our local high school.

The big highlight was the fact that our football team had an undefeated season and were the state champions in their division.

Excitement was high as the night began with a  rousing video of the team’s season  set to the song “Footloose”. Prolonged, enthusiastic applause followed the video and all eyes were on the beaming football team.

That was a tough act to follow.

However, the show must go on and the  first awards of the night were given to the school’s golf team. As the team captain made his way to the microphone, he grinned at the crowd and said, “I’d like to announce that we will now all be treated to a video of me playing nine holes of golf!”

Loved that kid!

One by one, the coach of each team came forward to present various awards to each player.  (My daughter Julia received her letters and gold pin for her participation in volleyball. I have no photos to show, however. I did take some but they were all blurry for some reason. Epic fail. Sorry, Mom!).

The captains from each team all said a few words as well…and I began to notice a theme. If a team had not had a winning season, the kids all seemed to adopt an apologetic tone and their heads were not held quite as high.

Finally, at the end of the night, the principal took the microphone and said she needed to share something. She went on to say that having a winning season was not the main thing.  The most important thing was that the athletes were out there giving their best at every game.

She ended by saying, “You don’t have to be a champion to have the heart of a champion.”

I could not agree more.

Of course, we all love to win. Winning is wonderful!

However, nobody can win all of the time.

A friend was telling me yesterday that her son-in-law, who is a world-class runner had intended to qualify for the Olympic games this year until a stress fracture dashed those hopes. There will be no Olympic medal for him next year but he intends to keep training and try again four years from now. That’s the heart of a champion.

A young lady with Down’s Syndrome plays both volleyball and basketball at my daughter’s school. She does not let her disability limit or define her and plays hard at every single game. That is the heart of a champion.

One of my daughter’s friends at school has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease. The disease robbed her of being able to play soccer this season. However, she was at every single practice and every single game (sometimes sitting in her wheelchair holding an umbrella when it rained) cheering on her teammates, shining her light and spreading her joy. That is the heart of a champion.

And yes, the boys on our football team who practiced for hours and played the best games of their young lives have the hearts of a champion.

“Most look up and admire the stars. A champion climbs a mountain and grabs one.”—Unknown 

Who do you know that has the heart of a champion?

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “The Heart Of A Champion

  1. The Elaine

    MARY JO!!!

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