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Gifts of Ideas
 
     
 
Meiss Education Institute

Gifts of Ideas from Great Sports Heroes
By Rich Meiss

Through the years, I have been inspired by the wisdom of many great sports heroes, and have kept a collection of their quotes and words. These people have included athletes, coaches, team owners, Olympic champions and sport enthusiasts. In the words of Arnold Palmer,  you must play boldly to win”. May these words of wisdom inspire you to be bold in all your endeavors. 
 
Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem – NBA basketball player
“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.”
 
Ali, Muhammad - American boxer
“You could be the world’s best garbage man, the world’s best model; it doesn’t matter what you do if you’re the best.”
 
Andretti, Mario – Race car driver
“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your “goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.”
 
Ashe, Arthur – Tennis player
One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
 
Ashford, Evelyn – Olympic gold medalist, sprinter
“I believe in women. I believe in myself. I believe in my body.”
 
Bannister, Roger - Distance runner, broke the four-minute mile
“Without the concentration of the mind and the will, performance would not result.”
 
Biondi, Matt – Olympic gold medalist, swimmer
“There is too much emphasis on success and failure, and too little on how a person grows as he works. Enjoy the journey, enjoy every moment, and quit worrying about winning and losing.”
 
Bird, Larry – NBA basketball player and coach
“Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.”
 
Bradley, Bill – NBA basketball player, U.S. Senator
“The taste of defeat has a richness of experience all its own.”
 
Brodie, John – NFL football player
“There is an intensity and a danger in football – as in life generally – which keeps us alive and awake. It is a test of our awareness and ability. Like so much of life, it presents us with the choice of responding either with fear or with action.”
 
Bryant, Paul “Bear” – College football coach
“When you make a mistake, there are only three things you should ever do about it: 1) Admit it; 2) Learn from it; 3) Don’t repeat it.”
 
Camp, Walter - College football coach
“When it comes to the football field, mind will always win over muscle and brute force.”
 
Campbell, Earl – NFL football player
“If it weren’t for the dark days, we wouldn’t know what it is to walk in the light.”
 
Carter, Don – Champion bowler
“One of the advantages bowling has over golf is that you seldom lose a bowling ball.”
 
Comaneci, Nadia – Olympic gold medalist, gymnastics
“Hard work has made it easy. That is my secret. That is why I win.”
 
Cosell, Howard – Sports broadcaster
“The ultimate victory in competition is derived from the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your best and that you have gotten the most out of what you had to give.”
 
Decker, Mary – Distance runner
“I was born to be a runner. I simply love to run. It’s almost like the faster I go, the easier it becomes.”
 
De Coubertin, Baron Pierre – Founder, modern Olympic games
“The important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part; the important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
 
Didrikson Zaharias, Mildred “Babe” – Olympic medalist, all-around athlete
“As long as I am improving, I will go on.”
 
DiMaggio, Joe – Major League baseball player
“A person doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.”
 
Ditka, Mike – NFL football player and coach
“I don’t believe anything is unrealistic if you believe you can do it.
If you are determined enough and willing to pay the price, you can
get it done.”
 
Evert, Chris –Tennis player
“Ninety percent of my game is mental. It’s my concentration that has gotten me this far.”
 
Fitzsimmons, Cotton – NBA coach
“I have a basic philosophy that I’ve tried to follow during my coaching career. Whether you’re winning or losing, it is important to always be yourself. You can’t change because of the circumstances around you.”
 
Fleming, Peggy – Olympic gold medalist, figure skater
“The most important thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours.”
 
Garvey, Steve – Major league baseball player
“You have to set the goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.”
         
Gibbs, Joe – NFL coach and race car enthusiast
“People who enjoy what they are doing invariably do it well.”
 
Graf, Steffi – Champion tennis player
“As long as I can focus on enjoying what I’m doing, having fun,
I know I’ll play well.”
 
Griffith-Joyner, Florence – Olympic gold medalist, sprinter
“Young people need positive role models. I would like to be one.”
 
Hillary, Sir Edmund – Mountain climber
“You don’t have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can just be an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals.”
 
Hull, Bobby – NHL hockey player
“Every professional athlete owes a debt of gratitude to the fans and management, and pays an installment every time he plays. He should never miss a payment.”
 
Jenner, Bruce – Olympic gold medalist, decathlon
“What does a fellow compete for anyway? A gold medal? Money? Glory?   No, it’s fulfillment.”
 
Johnson, Earvin “Magic” – NBA basketball player
“Even when I went to the playground, I never picked the best playground, I never picked the best players. I picked guys with less talent, but who were willing to work hard, who had the desire to be great.”
 
Jordan, Michael – NBA basketball player
“I’ve always tried to project everything positive. People say you need role models in the world, and people were asking for them, and I never thought a role model should be negative.”
 
King, Billie Jean – Champion tennis player
“A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.”
 
Knox, Chuck – NFL coach
“Practice without improvement is meaningless.”
 
Lasorda, Tommy – Major league baseball manager
“I’ve learned that the only way to get respect from people is to give them  respect – and that’s my way of doing it.”
 
Law, Vernon – Major league baseball pitcher
“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”
 
Lombardi, Vince – NFL coach
“The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.”
 
Lopez, Nancy – LPGA golfer
“There has always been something new, demanding and testing every day I play. I love the challenge.”
 
Maris, Roger - Major league baseball player
“You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.”
 
McGann, Michelle – LPGA golfer
“I was always my own person, not ever really trying to copy anybody.”
 
Namath, Joe – NFL football player
“To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he’s going.”
 
Nicklaus, Jack – PGA golfer
“The one strongest, most important idea in my game of golf – my
cornerstone – is that I want to be the best. I wouldn’t accept anything less than that. My ability to concentrate and work toward that goal has been my greatest asset.”
 
Norman, Greg – PGA golfer
“I’m a very intense person. When I go after something, I want to go after it with everything I have. I want to push myself to the edge.”
 
Palmer, Arnold – PGA golfer
“I’ve always made a total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me.”
 
Payton, Walter – NFL football player
“I want to be remembered as the guy who gave his all whenever he was on the field. I want people to know that Walter Payton will be putting out on every play.”
 
Phillips, Bum – NFL coach
“The only discipline that lasts is self-discipline.”
 
Player, Gary – PGA golfer
“The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
 
Retton, Mary Lou – Olympic gold medalist, gymnast
“I like added pressure. It makes me work harder.”
 
Rickey, Branch – Major league baseball executive
“Problems are the price you pay for success.”
 
Ripken, Cal Jr. – Major league baseball player
“I never perceived myself to be the big star. I’m only one of nine guys. I think it is good to think that way.”
 
Robbie, Joe – NFL football team owner
“There is no substitute for effort. Always play up to your full potential in every endeavor. The greatest extravagance of all is to wasted human potential.”
 
Robinson, Jackie – Major league baseball player
“Many people resented my impatience and honesty, but I never cared about acceptance as much as I cared about respect.”
 
Rockne, Knute – College football coach
“One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.”
 
Rudolph, Wilma – Olympic gold medalist, sprinter
“I would be very disappointed if I were only remembered as a runner because I feel that my contribution to the youth in America has far exceeded the woman who was the Olympic champion. The challenge is still there.”
 
Ruth, Babe – Major league baseball player 
“You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”
 
Shoemaker, Willie – Jockey
“I’ve always believed that anybody with a little ability, a little guts and the desire to apply himself can make it.”
 
Snead, Sam – PGA golfer
“Forget your opponents; always play against par.”
 
Spitz, Mark – Olympic gold medalist, swimmer
“I’m trying to do the best I can. I’m not concerned about tomorrow, but with what goes on today.”
 
Staubach, Roger – NFL football player
“Nothing good comes in life or athletics unless a lot of hard work has preceded the effort. Only temporary success is achieved by taking short cuts.”
 
Trevino, Lee - PGA golfer
“There’s no such thing as natural touch. Touch is something you create by hitting millions of golf balls.”
 
Thomas, Isiah – NBA basketball player and coach
“If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then
I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.”
 
Westphal, Paul - NBA basketball player and coach
“The key to any game is to use your strengths and hide your weaknesses.”
 
 
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