As a kid, Sport was my everything. We would play baseball, soccer, basketball and football in the back yard. Kids from the entire neighborhood would show up at our house after dinner. We would divide the team evenly and kick things off. Our goal was to make a play that deserved being on ABC’s Wide World of Sports with Jim McKay calling the play.
What is interesting about the Wide World of Sport introduction video, The Thrill of Victory and Agony of Defeat, is that most people remember the Skier that loses control and crashes on his ski jump. The Agony of Defeat. The reality is the video captures much more Thrill of Victory than agony of defeat. Why is this? If we are what we think, should it not be the other way around? Let’s praise the victories in life and let’s not dwell on the defeats.
With athletes and coaches, are their greatest accomplishments on the field or off the field? The true great ones leave their mark off the field. Tonight, is the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Gardens in NYC. Some might say that his North Carolina State upset of Houston in 1983 was his greatest win ever. Not true! On March 3, 1993 Jimmy Valvano delivered that epic speech that ultimately ignited the Jimmy V Fund. In the speech he said, “Don’t ever give up.” When the goal line is not always clearly marked, people often quit just shy of the finish line. Follow Jimmy’s advice and “Do not ever give up.” His greatest upset is that the V Fund has raised over $250 Million dollars dedicated towards cancer research. That night he said “we need money for research, it may not save my life. It may save my children’s life or someone you love.” With the money raised, Jimmy V is saving lives. This makes his 1983 NCAA Championship win look small relative to the lives he has saved.
Tonight, as you watch the games think of all of those who have beaten Cancer since 1993. However, the game is not even close to being over. In 2014 we lost Stuart Scott to this ugly disease. Shortly before his passing, Stuart was awarded the Jimmy V Award at the ESPY’s. His speech has changed how many look at cancer fighters. Stuart said that night “I am not losing. When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live.” Sport is curing this ugly disease. As Stuart would have said “Booyah!”
We are at the 2-yard line. It is 4th and goal and we are down 6 points. What are you going to do? Think of Jimmy V and Stuart Scott. “Do not ever give up and Booyah!” If you are fighting, then keep fighting. If you are spectator keep buying the front row seats to fund research.
I personally thank all that have fought before me and all that have contributed to cancer research. I am winning because of you!
Keep working at what I try working on every day and that is:
- Find something you are grateful for!
- Be truly Present for those you are with!
- Ask yourself what you are feeding your mind, body and spirit?
Live at God Speed!
Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPY Speech
Stuart Scott Speech