A glance at athletes who persevered in the face of obstacles
By Lawal Hassan Oladipupo
Michael Jordan and other impressive athletes have gone through the storms and conquered. Michael Jordan, like many other outstanding sport persons, have done times they wish to throw in the towel. But some how they were able to bounce back and win.
In this article, we shall look critically in those stormy times Michael Jordan and others had to go through. They’ll inspire you in your own journey through life. Did you know that Michael Jordan was once rejected by his high school team? Find out more.
Setbacks have been totally misunderstood over the years. Most people think they’re a curse that must be spiritually excised. But strangely enough, setbacks are the parents of success. No one wishes to fail but the question remains ‘what do we do next when we fail?’
Many successful entrepreneurs, artistes, athletes etc. have built with the bricks of setbacks. Failure is a teacher, there’s always a lesson to learn from every failed attempt.
In the world of sports, setbacks are occurrences every athlete can relate to. Most times, these athletes have been completely written off because of their unfortunate antecedents. Yet, somehow, they managed to bounce back and cause a shock.
Here is an examination of a few sportsmen who despite their stumbling on numerous occasions still got up and soared.
STANLEY ROGERS SMITH
Stanley Smith, At 17, failed at securing a job as a ball boy for the Davis Cup, he was turned down because the organizers thought he was too awkward. Later, the American went on to grace many Men’s Double Grand Slams as he didn’t let that deter him.
A world No. 1 tennis star at one point and two-time Grand Slam singles champion, Smith also formed with his partner Bob Lutz one of the most successful doubles teams of all time. Together, they won many major titles all over the world. In 1978, Adidas renamed the line of tennis shoes after him — Adidas Stan Smith.
“When you walk on a court, clear your mind of everything unrelated to the goal of playing the match as well as you can,” he once said.
MANSUR ALI KHAN PATAUDI
Ali Pataudi, as a 20-year-old university student, partially lost his sight in an accident on 1 July 1961 after a splinter of glass from a broken windscreen penetrated and damaged his right eye.
But he didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his dreams as a cricketer. Dr. David St Clair Roberts, a surgeon, was called to operate on the damaged eye which was going to affect the other.
But Roberts managed to save the other eye. The damage caused Pataudi to have a doubled vision, and it was feared this would end his cricketing career, but Pataudi was soon in the field, learning to play with one eye.
He scored 103 in the Third Test in Madras, helping India to its first series win against England. Given captaincy at the age of 21, he has been described as “one of India’s greatest cricket captains”.
At 21 years and 77 days, he held the world record for the youngest Test captain until he was surpassed by Tatenda Taibu in May 2004. As of November 2015, he remains the youngest Indian Test captain and second youngest International Test captain worldwide.
Sandeep Singh made his International debut for India in January 2014 in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Kuala Lumpur. When he was at his peak, he was said to have the best speed in the world in drag flick which was 145km/h.
Two years later on 22 August 2006, he was seriously injured after being hit by an accidental gunshot on a train. He was on his way to join his other teammates in the India National Hockey Team who were due to travel for the world cup in Africa two days later.
That accident almost paralyzed him, he was in a wheelchair for one year. Singh didn’t give up as he kept on fighting to secure a comeback, he recovered from the injury and established himself as one of the best fullbacks in India earning the nickname “Flicker Singh”.
MICHAEL JEFFREY JORDAN
Michael Jordan was scrapped from his High School Team. He was 5’11” and his coaches deemed it fit that he was too short to play at that level and that he also lacked skills. Jordan didn’t give up after hearing all this.
Determined to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney’s junior varsity team, and tallied several 40-point games. The next summer, he trained rigorously and became a force to reckon with. “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying”, Jordan once said.
He later went on to become the best player in the history of basketball. “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time”, According to his biography on the official NBA website. He later grew to 6’6” (1.98 m).
People often asked him how he came about his immense success and he said “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” You can recover from rejection too.
GLENN VERNICE CUNNINGHAM
Glenn Cunningham, at eight, was involved in a fire accident which had his legs terribly burnt. His brother Floyd, 13, died in the explosion. When the doctors recommended amputating Cinningham’s legs to stop the rot and save his life, he was so distressed his parents would not allow it.
The doctors predicted he might never walk normally again. He had lost all the flesh on his knees and shins and all the toes on his left foot. Also, his transverse arch was practically destroyed. However, His determination to succeed was fierce. He began to go through hours of therapy, slowly regaining his strength to walk, and after some time, he began to run to school.
He soon earned a place in his school’s track team. In 1934 in New York, he set the world record for the mile run at 4:06.8, which stood for three years. He also set world records in the 800m in 1936 and in the indoor mile in 1938. The American middle-distance runner was regarded as the world’s fastest miler of all time.
He had an optimistic attitude as well as a strong religious faith. His favorite Bible verse was Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
Let me know how much this article has inspired you.