Leaders Step Up to the Plate

Like everything else in life, success is relative.  We all define it in our own terms.


Basically, it’s the end result of our efforts to reach our goals, but the path leading there will never be straight.  Each twist and turn presents obstacles.  It’s how we handle the obstacles that determine whether we strike out or hit one out of the park. But to do that, we need to step up to the plate.  Not all of us have the guts to do that. Those who do, are true leaders.


Ball players, and other sports heroes understand that – possibly because they get more time to practice than we do. While they have their goals (win the game) and their obstacles (they can prepare but can’t predict what they may come up against during a game), the outcome is known within a few hours.  It’s vivid, and it plays out in ‘real’ time. While everything’s fresh, they regroup: analyze their strengths and weaknesses, what went wrong, what went right,  and strategize how to capitalize on strengths and compensate for weaknesses.  Then, they get back out there and do it again. And again.


They don’t brood over their loses; or allow themselves to luxury to wallow in the ‘pity-pot.’  They don’t have the time. They need to ready themselves for the next game and not let the past define them. We’ve  seen teams on a winning streaks and we’ve seen them on losing streaks.  We’ve also seen them come out from behind and win against seemingly unbeatable odds. That’s the best part, for us as well as them.


Regardless of whether they play with a team, or solo, our sports heroes can teach us a lot about motivation, perseverance, leadership, winning and losing. As you can see from these 18 quotes, attitude and perspective contribute much to their success.  As the saying goes, it’s not whether you win or lose.  It’s how you play the game:


  1. “I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat.” – Tom Landry
  2. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.” – Laird Hamilton
  3. “I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.” – Sandy Koufax
  4. “Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.” – William James
  5. “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.” – John Madden
  6. “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team. ” – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  7.  “During my 18 years I came to bat almost 10,000 times. I struck out about 1,700 times and walked maybe 1,800 times. You figure a ballplayer will average about 500 at bats a season. That means I played seven years without ever hitting the ball.” – Mickey Mantle
  8. “I never left the field saying I could have done more to get ready and that gives me piece of mind.” – Peyton Manning
  9. “My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” – Hank Aaron
  10. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan
  11. “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” – Mike Singletary
  12. “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth
  13. “A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey
  14. “It ain’t over till it’s over.” – Yogi Berra
  15. “You’re never a loser until you quit trying.” – Mike Ditka
  16. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  17. “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi
  18. “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” Vince Lombardi


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