The first time that I attended the Petersburg High School (Petersburg, WV) Athletic Award Ceremony was during my freshman year in 1978. The keynote speaker that year was supposed to be Jack Flemming, “The Voice of the (WVU) Mountaineers”. Our athletic director received a call the evening before informing him that Mr. Flemming had just been hospitalized. WVU’s assistant basketball coach, Gary McPherson filled in at the last minute.
I remember seeing the keynote speaker of the event my sophomore year, University of Virginia’s head basketball coach, Terry Holland arrive. He was accompanied by a special guest; a very tall, (7 feet inches 4 inches) freshman college basketball player, Ralph Sampson. He was so tall he had to duck to get through the door of the school’s cafeteria where the event was being held.
The speaker my junior year was Steve Furness. He was the backup defensive tackle for the Steel Curtain of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the consummate teammate who filled in when needed. The Steelers won 4 Super Bowls while he played. His talk highlighted the importance of being a good teammate and the importance of being a great backup player .
Mel Blount was the keynote speaker my senior year. The future NFL Hall of Fame player was also part of the Pittsburgh Steelers who won 4 Super Bowls. He became a 5 time Pro-Bowler. He was such a high profile athlete that it was very exciting to hear him speak about his experience in football and, in particular, the NFL. He's now consider one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL of all time.
Because of this history, I felt truly honored when I was asked to be this year’s keynote speaker on May 19th. I was filling in some really big shoes (….literally….Sampson wore size 17 shoes!).
What would I have to offer the crowd that would keep up to the standard of speaker presenting while I attended as a high school athlete?
The answer is pretty easy: See To Play!
4 out of 10 athletes don’t make it to the professional level because of one physical trait that is weaker than elite athletes: Vision.
As an eye doctor who specializes in helping elite athletes reach their genetic potential by maximizing their visual system, I’ve been fortunate to work with so many elite athletes: Super Bowl players, Pro Bowlers, World Series Champions, MLB All-star-ers, Olympians, Stanley Cup Champions, NBA athletes,…….my book lists my stats…..oh yeah….and…unfortunately…. I’ve also seen many more athletes miss it because of their vision. The majority of them waited too late to realize it was "in their eyes".
My talk for the award ceremony was entitled: Turn A Win Into A Loss #ALWAYSWINNING
No one remains undefeated in life. We all suffer a loss or two in sports and in the events of our lives. So, what steps can we take to turn out losses into wins so that we're always winning?
It’s simple: I call it the "4 L’s"
Listen: It may seem shocking, but many things that we do in our day to day life has already been done by humans before. People will tell you, “ I did this before and it didn’t work” or “I did this and it was awesome!” Listen to people around you and you will end up at the right place at the right time.
Learn: Practice, practice, practice. I love the saying "Don’t practice til you get it right, practice til you never get it wrong". Also, study, study, study….the majority people use what they've learned and their academics on a day to day basis more than the sports in their life. And topics that may seem less relevant while learning may end up being the best lessons learned.
Laugh: Learn to laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Life is to short. Forgive yourself and learn from your losses.
Love: Make this world a better place. Love those around you and what you do. Love through adversity. Some have lost family members through death and divorce. Some have bad parents, coaches, teachers and friends. Be bigger than that. It’s been said adversity breaks some people and adversity makes other people record breakers. Be the record breaker.
Turn your losses into wins. It will make you a champion in your sport….and a champion in your life!
Welcome to my blog! I hope this helps you learn a little more about me and also keeps you up to date on my fun world of sports vision.