“Wins and losses come a dime a dozen. But effort? Nobody can judge effort. Effort is between you and you. Effort ain’t got nothing to do with nobody else. So that team that think they ready to seen you? They think what they seen on film. They ain’t saw what film shows. Because every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment…So now you got to go out and show them that you a different creature now than I was five minutes ago. Cause I’m pissed off for greatness. Because you ain’t pissed off for greatness, that mean you OK with being mediocre.” – Ray Lewis
So to focus in on the full quote, the bolded words are ones that have stuck with me since 2012 when the 2012 UNC Lacrosse Fall Wrap Up – Welcome to the Grind was published. I remember specifically when I heard them. A few of my teammates and I were watching hype up lacrosse videos and one of them happened to be the UNC Men’s Fall wrap up. Alongside training and practice highlights, it was the first time I had ever heard the “welcome to the grind” speech and then Magical World (Bassnectar Remix) fades into the ending with these certain highlights of Ray Lewis’s words. I remember pulling that YouTube video just for the words numerous times a week before practices, conditioning sessions, and games. I knew walking off the field that if I had a regret of what I gave then why was I even showing up? There had to be no question in my mind that I wanted to be there. That no one would judge my effort every day except for myself, and that I would sleep soundly every night knowing I had nothing else to give.
When I started training more seriously for lacrosse around my sophomore year in high school all my extra training was with my father and most of it took place in the weight room. Having two older brothers who I tend to take after (unlike my petite mother and sister) I found it very hard to embrace a body that was meant to be strong. Every time I would work on my power lifts my brothers and father were always pushing me to increase my weights because they knew my capabilities. I remember going for a max in my squat and being nervous and my dad would look at me in the mirror ready to spot me and say, “Remember, this is only part of what we work for, pray that God can help you grow Spiritually, Academically, and Athletically and protect you through each one.” Now you might be thinking that’s a loaded thought process for a squat max and weirdly enough I didn’t think it was even at a young age not knowing half the things I would endure as a collegiate athlete. What it taught me is a balance. Having the faith to ask for help in even the smallest instance to reap a reward that is so small in the grand scheme of things, and to have a mindset that I am adding to a balance of what having faith can do in any circumstance or category.
“Fake it till you make it.”
Probably one of the most undesired quotes anyone would want to admit they have faith in, but let me try and sway your thought process on the idea of being “fake.” My junior year of college I made a position change, probably one of the most ironic ones to make… goalie to defender. I remember the first day of practice showing up with goggles and field stick in hand and my teammates picking up their jaws off the turf assuming it must be April fools. I knew a big part of what I portrayed myself as to them would determine the outcome of this switch (mid-season, might I add) and that if I decided this change didn’t deter my “no fear” attitude and aggressive personality, my team would come to terms and respect me as a field player. Day by day, despite the many concerns and fears and insecurities, I continued to convince myself that I was going to make it (even if it included faking it for a while).
“I was raised on Oatmeal… I raised my own children on oatmeal. Some things don’t change; some lessons remain the same. Those my father taught many years ago may seem old fashioned now, but like oatmeal they still work.” – John Wooden
This is definitely not one of his more famous quotes. But it comes from the first page of his book My Personal Best – Life Lessons from an All-American Journey. The first time I read those words four years ago they really resonated with me. Not because how quality of a breakfast food oatmeal is or just because I related as a poor college kid eating oatmeal almost every day. It resonated because some life lessons can really be just that simple. Sometimes you don’t have to go searching for answers but rather let having a consistent reminder of simplicity in your life be the lesson.
“Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”
More of a lyric actually, specifically from Mumford and Sons’ “Awake My Soul,” but this really rounds out just about all the quotes that have stuck with me. This to me means that in any task, challenge, hobbies, and relationships that I take on, I must be prepared to represent myself in the correct way. Everything we do shows the outside world a piece of ourselves. If I choose to go halfheartedly into what I’m doing, then I’m living a halfhearted life. If I invest in the wrong decisions, things that aren’t progressing me forward – then my life goes to waste. If I choose the things, people, and passions that give me life then I am using it the right way.