I spent much of the afternoon at the home of Dr. Fred Abrams, speaking with him and his elegant wife, Alice. I have known Fred and Alice for the better part of twenty years. Fred is one of the most highly regarded medical ethicists in the Rocky Mountain region. I took a class on biomedical ethics from Fred about two years after getting out of the hospital.
Fred is referenced in my book’s Introduction and in my Acknowledgement. He was a faithful friend that read parts of manuscripts during the past ten years. Fred has been a fountain of inspiration.
This afternoon I signed several books for Fred and Alice; many to be given to neighbors with young children and a few going to their own children and grandchildren. While we ate some freshly baked ginger scones and drank hot tea, Alice shared with me a statement she created some twenty years ago. While being interviewed on the telephone by an author writing about moments of significant change in the lives of selected women, Alice said:
“In life, as in dance, grace glides on blistered feet.”
The statement is one of the most profound I have heard or read. I am delighted to share it with readers. Alice’s statement evokes recollections of many of the quotes in my Chapter 22, A Gift and the Super Bowl. I share some of the statements and their context. Several of the statements are taken from Chapter 22.
I met Jason Elam at the home of sculptor Steve LeBlanc, a mutual friend. Jason was the All-Pro kicker who played for the Denver Broncos and then the Atlanta Falcons. Jason explained how he develops mental toughness. “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Few collections of words have greater relevance to success.
Here is a statement by Amy Van Dyken:
The mentally tough person questions how to become better and then does what needs to be done to become better. Asthma-plagued Amy Van Dyken, the first American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics, bluntly defined the performance standard for doing better: “Whatever it takes.”
Hall of fame coach Vince Lombardi
“A man can be as great as he wants to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication, the competitive drive, and if you are willing to sacrifice the little things in life and pay the price for the things that all worthwhile, it can be done. Once a man has made a commitment, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.”
On Failure and Mental Toughness
“There is no great champion without great will.”
Gunde Svan, Olympic Gold Medalist, Nordic Skiing, Sweden
Many more statements about mental toughness, optimism and the character needed for high athletic performance are in Chapter 22 of The Good, The Bad and The Difference: How to Talk with Children About Values