Love him or hate him, you’ll always remember him…and hopefully when it’s all said and done, always respect him.
If you’re unfamiliar with his story, it all started at The “U” (my beloved University of Miami), and now Ray is in the twilight of an amazing hall of fame football career.
He is arguably the greatest Middle Linebacker of all time (12 Pro Bowls, 7 time All-Pro, 2 time Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl MVP) and is the most decorated player at his position in NFL history.
Some may argue that Lawrence Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Mike Singletary, Jack Lambert, and/or Dick Butkus are better players, but that’s a discussion for another time.
As a former athlete at the University of Miami, lifelong Hurricane Football fan, and diehard Ravens fan who grew up in Baltimore, it is impossible for me not to love everything about Ray Lewis.
Call me a bit biased here…but regardless of if you hate Miami, the Ravens, or Ray Lewis personally…as a sports fan you’ve got to respect and admire the amazing ‘comeback’ story of a kid who everyone once said was “too slow and too small” to play football…who fell from greatness…only to pick himself up, completely reshape his image and go on to become arguably the greatest linebacker of all time.
Back home in Baltimore, Ray Lewis is viewed as a guy who always humbly goes out of his way to help others. He’s viewed as an icon who has selflessly made countless charitable contributions without seeking any type of recognition.
He’s viewed as a guy who has a strong disposition to kindness and compassion. He’s viewed as a guy who has mentored the youth and become a helping hand for countless people in need.
Every time I go home I see Ray Lewis mentoring young kids at my mom’s gym. He doesn’t have to do any of this stuff in his down time; he could be on vacation, partying, or at home relaxing. Instead, he chooses to spend his time off from football helping others; mentoring, donating, giving, caring, and devoting himself to the greater good.
In my opinion, Ray Lewis is the ultimate athlete. The consummate professional. A true legend. He dominates on the field. He helps others off the field. He is a leader. He is a dedicated father. He is dedicated to the game. He is a champion. He succeeds with humility. He plays for the right reasons. He is one of the greatest motivators of our generation. And his pre-game speeches are the stuff of legend.
One speech in particular gives me goose bumps every time I listen to it and it’s sort of become my mantra slash personal mission statement as of late. It’s a powerful speech about EFFORT that Ray gave to the Stanford Basketball Team before their NIT semifinal game against UMass last year. Check it out below:
Look, there is always going to be someone who is bigger, stronger, faster, quicker, richer, smarter, better looking, etc than you are. Don’t even fight it. Don’t even get mad about it. It’s just one of the facts of life. This doesn’t mean that you can’t beat those guys or leave a greater legacy than they will if you work your ass off and make a 100% commitment to greatness.
Ray Lewis beat the odds. He worked his ass off and made the most of his opportunities. Now, his legacy will live on for a long time after he retires, even after he dies. He has reached a level of sports immortality.
Of course, there are negative people out there who will always try to focus on the negative stuff that has happened in Ray’s life…but as I have said in previous posts: focusing on negativity and dwelling on the opinions of negative people gets you nowhere in life and nothing positive ever comes from it. These types of people will only drag you down not lift you up. Screw what the critics and haters have to say. Hating takes way too much energy. Take that energy and use it for something positive instead.
There is a lot we can learn from Ray Lewis. His belief in himself, his ability to out-hustle everyone, his unmatched will to win, his indomitable level of commitment, his ability to overcome adversity, his ability to handle success and failure, his ability to unselfishly give of himself to others, and his ability to always remain positive even when the whole world was against him are lessons we can all benefit from.
Ray Lewis may only have a few games left, but he has already left his legacy. He’s left his mark. Now, it’s your turn. You are 100% in control of your life and your future. No one controls your fate but you, and all of the success you achieve in life will come through commitment and EFFORT.
Thank you Ray, for the inspiration.
Thanks for reading. Please drop your comments below and let me know what YOU think about Ray Lewis.
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