Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Life Turns and Sprints Away

I run across a number of quotes that I think are worth remembering, not so much, because they are motivational, but because they are true. They remind me of basic truths that I must learn to live by.

I think of motivation as the match used to start a campfire. Once the match is applied, it takes effort and fuel to keep the fire going. The match is destroyed and no longer serves a purpose. Of course, you can start a fire without a match it’s more difficult and typically takes much longer. Motivational speakers don’t motivate they provide the match. Each of us must provide the effort and fuel for motivation to take place. The quote may serve as a catalyst for action, but it’s just a catalyst. It’s not a substitute for sustained effort.  

The quote I have been thinking about lately is "Life turns and sprints away, and what could you do but follow? “. It is from Dante "Gluefingers" Lavelli. Lavelli lived between 1923 and 2009. He originally played football for Ohio State but had to leave early to join the Army during WWII. We went ashore in France just after D-Day and fought in the Battle of the Bulge in 1945. On Christmas day of 1946 he caught the winning pass for the AAFC championship in New York City. He is now in the NFL Football Hall of Fame. He spent his years after football as the owner of a small furniture store in Rocky River Ohio.

Lavelli got an opportunity to play football at Ohio State, he followed. WWII started and life changed. Lavelli was drafted into the Army and left football behind. The war ended and life changed. Lavelli was back playing football but not as a college graduate. Lavellie went back to Ohio State between football seasons to earn his degree. Football ended for Lavelli and life changed again. Now he was a small business entrepreneur. Each time “life turns and sprints away” Lavelli followed. He didn’t hang on to the past hoping to prolong it’s existence. Good, bad or indifferent he embraced the future. Given a choice I’m sure he prefered Ohio States campus to the the French battlefield Ardennes. 19,000 soldiers died in less then 45 days. He didn’t live in the horror of those 45 days. He found a way to move on.

Just as I am sure he preferred the hurrah's of winning NFL Championships to the daily grind of keeping a small business running in Rocky River. He won seven championships as a wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns. But it was the furniture store that fed and housed his wife and three children.

The great truth in this quote is not it’s ability to light a match under my performance, but to clarify a simple truth. “Life turns and sprints away”, what else can I do but follow. When I chose to not follow it simply leaves me behind.

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