QOTD: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
I was reminded of this inspirational quote last week when I ran into a former Stonehill Women’s Lacrosse player of mine in Boston. The next day I stumbled across an old thank you letter from another former player. Both had played on the first college team I coached back in 1999 at Stonehill and were part of a truly special group. That wonderful team, in its first varsity season, excelled going 11-3, won the conference regular season title and was inspirational (and great fun).
It was wonderful to reminisce about this special team and it brought back some fond memories – including how we used to wedge two lacrosse goals on TOP of my Honda Civic to drive them over to our practice field. Both players thanked me for my passion, inspiration and the belief I had in them and their teammates and how motivating (and fun) the experience was, especially on those inspiring timed 5-mile fitness runs in February (carrying their sticks) at 6:00am. (The Titans had it easy at Gettysburg…)
That first Stonehill Team and the players were easy to coach and lead (and a lot of fun) since they truly embodied excellence, on and off the field, and made it a habit. That team also fully committed to TEAM FITNESS and made that a habit for the program, even before fitness went mainstream. The result = championship lacrosse and life experiences for us all! You see fitness can help us all achieve excellence.
So as I was reminiscing about that championship team, I was reminded of the quote from Aristotle on ‘excellence’. (I was famous for giving a QOTD to the team before every practice or game. Aristotle’s quote was from practice #1, day#1 of coaching that 1999 Stonehill Team). And, since once a coach always a coach, I thought I would share some inspiration and coaching words of wisdom for your fall fitness that helped me motivate that special team of Stonehill student-athletes.In Aristotle’s quote, FITNESS can be substituted for excellence. Thus, your own health and fitness is not one single act but a life habit. That is easy to say and not always easy to do I know. We all could use some fitness inspiration in late fall, especially as the days shorten and it gets easier and easier to stay in your warm bed or on the couch instead of heading out to bike or run or workout at the gym. So straight from my lacrosse coaching archives, here is my favorite inspirational poem that I read (and handed out) at the first Stonehill team meeting long ago. That team and those players embodied this poem’s call to treat adversity, and fitness/game challenges, as an opportunity. Their perseverance and excellence continue to inspire me today. (Actually, I am feeling inspired to head out on a long run now…without a lax stick.)
I hope you enjoy these workout words of wisdom, are inspired and no matter what, remember to make fitness a habit and you’ll be a champion in your life.
Hitting the workout wall? Feeling sore and tired? Too cold out? Don’t want to run or workout today? …Carry On!
It’s easy to fight when everything’s right,
And you’re mad with the thrill and the glory;
It’s easy to cheer when victory’s near,
And wallow in the fields that are gory.
It’s a different song when everything’s wrong.
When you’re feeling internally mortal;
When it’s ten against one, and hope there is none,
Buck up, hold fast, and chortle:
Carry on! Carry on!…
And so in the strife of the battle of life
It’s easy to fight when you’re winning;
It’s easy to slave and starve and be brave,
When the dawn of success is beginning.
But the man who can meet despair and defeat
With a cheer, there’s the man of God’s choosing;
The man who can fight to Heaven’s own height
Is the man who can fight when he’s losing.
Carry on! Carry on!…
There are some who drift out in the deserts of doubt,
And some who in brutishness wallow;
There are others, I know, who in piety go
Because of a Heaven to follow.
But to labour with zest, and to give of your best,
For the sweetness and joy of the giving;
To help folks along with a hand and a song;
Why there’s the real sunshine of living.
Carry on! Carry on!
Fight the good fight and true;
Believe in your mission, greet life with a cheer:
There’s big work to do, and that’s why you are here.
Carry on! Carry on!…
– Robert William Service
*(full text available at: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/carry-on)
[Feeling inspired? Looking for some easy ways to help make fitness a habit in your life? Check out this great WebMD feature by Leanna Skarnulis: “10 Easy Ways to Make Exercise a Habit”]