I’ve been reading through the long, and enjoyable, history of ESPN in the book ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun (highly recommended).
This weekend I came across a great quote from the late great tennis star Arthur Ashe:
The most difficult lesson I’ve learned about my life and life in general in all my travels, it was really hard for me to accept this, is that everybody wants to shit on somebody else. It doesn’t matter what country it is. It doesn’t matter what culture it is. Blacks shitting on other blacks. It’s not just in America. It’s all over the world.
And he went on:
It was really hard for me to accept the fact that everyone needs somebody to beat up on. And it really, really caused me a great deal of pain. And so I’ve devoted what life I have left to really focusing on that with which we can uplift each other, find some way to do it.
This is something that I feel at some point everyone has been able to relate to, in one way or another. Between quotes like this, and the Jimmy Valvano ’93 ESPY speech, lots of inspiration has come from ESPN…and I’m only up to the mid-90s.
BTW, the takeaway quote from that Valvano speech, was his closing line:
Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.
If you ever truly need inspiration, watch the full speech, given by a man literally on his last legs, being attacked by cancer, and refusing to let it get to him.