H. Rick Goff
I was fortunate enough to go to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was a wonderful experience that not only made me a fan of winter sports, but also gave me a new appreciation for what Olympic athletes go through to prepare for the games. As I watched the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, I was constantly reminded of how important it is to prepare, practice, or in short--work hard! The Olympic athletes are all world class in their respective sports. They are obviously very talented, but while important, their talent alone is not what got them to the Olympics. Their willingness to put in the hard work necessary to compete at the highest level against the best competition is what drives them. The passion and commitment to hone their talent is what makes the difference and makes them different---it makes them Olympians.
When asked how they felt after winning or losing an event, I noticed every Olympian was quick to point out how hard they worked! They also immediately thanked all of those who helped and supported them along the way---coaches, parents, and friends. But the athletes literally cried when they seemed to reflect on the time, energy, and effort they put in to get to the Olympics. The hours, days, and years of practice crashed their emotions whether they had won a medal or not. They had competed against the best, given their best, and knew that winning a medal was never guaranteed. But the Olympians never seemed to regret or question the hard work put in to get to compete at the Olympics. They know they are talented and elite athletes, but understand it was hard work that got them there!
The Olympics, the World Cup, the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Masters all represent the biggest stages for their respective sports. The elite athletes (yes, I consider Golfers elite athletes) who compete in these events are the best of the best and work extremely hard to compete at these events. They all know (or think) they can win but respect their sports enough to know the results are never guaranteed. The athletes position themselves for success by working hard and competing against themselves every day. They work hard to achieve their personal best and hope it is enough. Win or lose, they know it was hard work that got them there.
Hard work does not guarantee victory or success in sports or in life. But hard work does maximize your talents and helps you achieve your personal best. Hard work gets you in the game and allows you to compete at the highest levels. The long hours of preparation and practice position you for success in the long run. Hard work is what makes the difference and makes you different ---it makes you a winner!