Finishing Strong!

September 11th of this year, I was on a United flight headed to Davenport, IA.  As we were boarding, they found a small mechanical problem on the plane.  They stopped us short of door, so we were all waiting on the jet bridge between the terminal and the plane.

Mechanics were walking in and out, so all of the passengers were lined up on either side of the jetway, trying to stay out of the way.

The day before, the Georgia Bulldogs had experienced a crushing loss to the South Carolina Gamecocks.  The final score was 45-42.  It was the second game of the season, and, unfortunately, their second loss.

While we were waiting, one of the passengers started ranting about what a lousy coach Mark Richt was and how he should be immediately fired.  This  after two games!!! 

The guy was loud.  Everyone else was quietly waiting to get on the plane, but we had to stand there and listen to this windbag.  His tone and his manner were super annoying!

While listening to the guy, I was experiencing a pretty strong internal battle.  My struggle was to either speak up and defend Richt or just let it be.

On the one hand, I admire Mark Richt.  He’s a very competent coach, and has an overall record at Georgia of 106 wins and 38 losses.  That’s an almost 75% winning record!  Most coaches would sell their mother for that.

But more importantly, he’s a good example of what a man should be.  He places God and family before his career.  He’s a gentleman who keeps himself under control in high stress situations.  He’s a good role model to the young men he coaches.  He has his values and priorities in line and has earned my admiration.

On the other hand, nothing I was going to say was going to change this Know-It-All’s opinion.  If I did suggest that he “shut his trap,” it could lead to a confrontation.  You don’t want a confrontation at an airport.  Security doesn’t take to well to “disturbances.”

So I decided to keep my mouth shut and let the guy be a jerk.  But I was angry that a good man was being unfairly judged and publicly ridiculed because of the results of two games.

Fast forward to today . . .

This past Saturday, Georgia won their tenth straight game!  They haven’t lost since the South Carolina game.  So now they’re 10 and 2.  That’s an 83.3% winning record for the season!  And next week they’re playing in the SEC Championship Game!!!

So what does this have to do with you?

Take a lesson from Mark Richt.  It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.

You may be at a place in your life where you feel that you just can keep going.  Maybe you’re in a battle that doesn’t feel winnable.  Maybe you’re worn out from the struggle.

Don’t stop!

As we go through life, we’ll all experience setbacks, obstacles, and failures.  It’s just the way it is.  You may even have people like the man on the jetway who count you out before you ever even get started.

Don’t listen to them.  As a matter of fact, stay away from them.  Eliminate them from your life.

Don’t be discouraged.  It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.

Calvin Coolidge once said,

 “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of the human race.”

So be like Mark Richt . . . 

Just keep going!  

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