The Road to Success


Photo by Jack Dalmolin

The North Forsyth Raiders line up at the 50 yard line as the sun sets on Raider Valley.

The center snapped the football, and placed a perfect spiral into the grasp of the all-star high school quarterback. With the weight of the world on his shoulders, he dropped into the pocket and scanned the field for an open receiver. The scoreboard ticked down from ten seconds, and with no timeouts left, the quarterback realized that this last play would decide the outcome of the game. It would decide which team goes to the playoffs. An open receiver entered his line of sight, and he reared back, posing to throw. Time seemed to slow down for the quarterback, and a million thoughts rushed through his head. Before he released the football, the football that carried the weight of the world, he remembered all of the early morning workouts and endless nights of going to bed sore from practice he had endured to reach this very moment. He remembered the goal he set at the beginning of the season, to lead his team to the playoffs, and he remembered how he had relentlessly strived for that goal, for this very moment. It was no accident that he was here. The quarterback released the ball, comforted by a feeling of reassurance deep inside of him. He knew that he could not have been any more prepared for this moment. Success was imminent.

“To succeed” is a vague phrase, and it can be interpreted many different ways from many different people.  To an athlete, what exactly does it mean to be successful? Is an athlete successful when they win that game against their most hated rival? Is an athlete successful when they swim a best time, or have the highest batting average in their league? The truth is, the definition of success varies from person to person, and the meaning lies within oneself and the goals they set for themselves. Working, training, and dedicating their life to achieve those goals are what it means to be successful. We all hear about the athletes who have achieved their biggest dreams, from breaking world records to winning national championships. But few people understand the long journey that they set sail on years ago. Few people understand what it means to be an athlete with a dream.

Athletes are a different species of humans. Why would any person in their right mind want to wake up, go to practice, and go back home to eat breakfast before the sun even rises? Why would any person participate in a sport that required them to dedicate nearly every weekend to competitions?  Why? Because, sports are more than just a game and more than just a hobby – to athletes, their sport is a way of life.

Believe this: there is no better feeling in the entire world than when a goal is finally accomplished. Dedicated athletes will never let anything stand in the way of achieving their dreams. Imagine the path in sports, or life for that matter, as a roller coaster. Although there are many ups and downs along the way, the true champions crowned are the ones who persevere through the downs and fight back to the top. This road is never easy, but nothing important in life comes without struggle.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman.