Who can ask more of a man
Than giving all within his span
Giving all, it seems to me,
Is not so far from victory
– George Moriarty, The Road Ahead or The Road Behind
George Moriarty was a major league baseball player, manager and umpire, as well as an amateur poet. As I recall, I was introduced to this poem at John Wooden’s basketball camp.
Life is funny. On the one hand, we are told it pays to be a winner. Winners get a bigger trophy and cuter girls and are the ones History tends to remember. On the other hand, not everybody can win. Sometimes you come in second place and sometimes you’re kept off life’s medal stand entirely.
So what separates number one from number two?
Not very much, actually. I’ve heard more than one coach say that on a percentage basis the difference between champion and runner up is two to three percent. I believe that. My experience with sports officials is the difference between the very best and the very good is equally slim and the difference, frankly, is usually hard work.
How do you withdraw that extra three percent out of yourself? We must put ourselves in a position to succeed. We do that by having a plan and executing that plan even when we’d rather be doing something else. To become our very best at something – anything – requires complete focus and the work required to get the most out of our talents. Usually this work is hard and the sacrifices complete focus demand are many and varied and sometimes difficult to resist.
Giving all, it seems to me/Is not so far from victory
A lot of success is out of our hands. The human experience is rather random. Sometimes circumstances will accompany to us the heights we’ve worked for and sometimes fate’s hand will stop us somewhat short of our goal.
That’s why it is important to remember our very best is all that matters because it is all we have any control over.