“You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.” –Herb Brooks
Coming into the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, Team USA Men’s Hockey was a complete afterthought amongst the favorites after returning only one member from the previous Winter Games in 1976. An afterthought perpetuated by their sloppy 10-3 massacre at the hands of their Cold War rival, the Soviet Union, during an Olympic Exhibition match.
Needless to say, when the Americans unpredictably found themselves in the Gold Medal match, there was plenty of doubt surrounding the men clad in red, white and blue. It was easy to write them off as bewildered underdogs fit to receive the same punishment they had felt months before against the skilled Russians. But then again, it’s always easy to write someone off.
Coach Herb Brooks had a job to do. Sure, he designed the offensive attack and the defensive schemes. He managed the lines throughout the game, ensuring each player was in the best position to succeed against a bigger, faster, almost hand-picked Soviet squad. But if his pre-game speech was any sign, Herb Brooks knew his job was bigger than just x’s and o’s. He was there to remind his men not only how they got there but why they got there. These men earned it. And Coach Brooks urged his team to believe the fact that if you earned your way to be somewhere, then you better show up.
To everyone else it could come as a surprise. Your peers, your opponents or even your supporters may not have been expecting you to be in this moment. But for you, this opportunity is anything but a surprise. However it was that you prepared for this opportunity, you did so thoroughly and relentlessly. So when you’re on the verge of success, just remember…you’re supposed to be here.
There is no such thing as an accident when it comes to working hard. You don’t need to rely on luck when you’ve been preparing for your whole life for your chance at success. Someone once told me about big, pressure-packed situations: “If you’re going to be here…then be here.” Simple words yet meaningful ones. If you’ve come this far for one thing, don’t let anyone or anything make you feel like this isn’t the only place in the world you should be. Glory presents itself only momentarily. Take what you deserve.
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