Published 8:33 am Sunday, June 22, 2008
Never throw in the towel
By Chandler Myers
Perseverance is an important characteristic that an athlete needs to possess in order to be great.
Some athletes have the perseverance necessary to propel themselves to extraordinary heights in their careers and others fall short to become the busts that are seen yearly being drafted.
Several athletes have displayed this unique trait in the last month by showing they have what it takes to be successful or even making it to a new level of success by beating the odds when they were stacked against them.
Jon Lester, a starting pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2006 and beat the cancer then coming back to the Red Sox pitching the final game of their World Series win in 2007. Lester followed that milestone up this season by pitching his first Major League no-hitter on May 19.
The month of June is seeing even more athletes beating the odds or hushing their critics as they do things that have been eluding them.
Sunday saw Dale Earnhardt Jr. break his 76-race winless streak at Michigan, winning for the first time since 2006 and notching his first victory at Hendrick Motorsports.
If Junior continues to find success the rest of the season, this just might be the year he locks up a Sprint Cup Championship.
While Earnhardt is in the midst of a season, another season is winding down and two teams are fighting for the right to be champions.
The Celtics are on top of the Lakers three games to two and there are several athletes in this series that are looking to prove themselves, but only two need mentioning.
Celtics forward Paul Pierce is looking to win his first NBA title after becoming the Celtic to play the most playoff games without winning a championship.
Kobe Bryant is a three-time champion, but is attempting to get past his critics who say he only won those championships because he had Shaquille O’Neal leading the way.
The player that perseveres to win the fight for the NBA will have more than just a trophy and ring, but they will get the credibility they have been attempting to attain.
Even the most incredible players have to fight back and persevere at some point just to prove that they are still No. 1.
Tiger Woods sat out of golf action for two months and returned for the U.S. Open last week and fought his way back to play Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff, which led to a tie and a one-hole playoff that Tiger won on Monday.
Woods’ reason for being out of action was his third left knee surgery, but he did not let it hold him back and achieved his third Open championship.
These professional athletes persevere in the face of doubt and win or lose, they still give evidence as to why they made it to the professional ranks.
Professionals are not the only ones who have to show this characteristic in order to find success.
Atmore has its own athletes in the Cal Ripken Major League that persevered and won a championship.
The United Bank Warriors survived a season and tournament where they had to play the Rotary Club Tigers a total of five times.
The Warriors lost the first contest, won late in the season, but had to fight out of the loser bracket after losing to their rival in the city tournament and beat the Tigers twice in the championship round to win.
So give a hand to athletes everywhere, whether they are in little leagues around the world or in professional leagues.
Champions are not born, but made and even when they seem immortal they still have to fight like any other person to win the prize they seek.
Chandler Myers is sports editor of the Atmore Advance. He can be reached at 368-2123 or emailed at email@example.com