During my teenage years – I often dreamed of being on the Olympic stage and having medals draped around my neck…while the Canadian anthem filled the stadium.
What I didn’t dream about was the long journey of getting to the elite performance level of an Olympic athlete. What I missed in my thoughts – was how important the actual effort and determination were.
A few years after Ben Johnson Scandal from the 1988 Seoul Olympics – a track coach gave me this message. He wrote it out on a piece of paper and I have kept it ever since…
“The duration of an athletic contest is only a few seconds or minutes, while the training for it may take weeks or months of arduous work and continuous exercise of self-effort.
The real value of sport is not the actual game played in the limelight of applause, but the hours of dagged determination and self-discipline carried out alone, imposed and supervised by an exacting conscience.
The applause soon dies away, the prize is left behind, but the character you build up – is yours forever.”
For all of you aspiring athletes and parents of athletes – be mindful of your journey. It isn’t always easy and glamorous. The more mountains you have to climb – the better prepared you are going to be in the end.