#1. Flutie has always had tremendous confidence in himself and has never doubted that he would succeed if given the opportunity. How's your confidence by the way? You can believe it's not good if you don't even bother to set goals anymore. I think back to when I used to watch professional boxers being interviewed after they lost a fight. Invariably, they had a reason,some might call it an excuse as to why they lost. At first I thought it was weird that they just didn't admit they were beaten by a better fighter. Eventually I realized why,in a sport where confidence in one's self is so important to success, admitting you were inferior to another athlete could be disastrous. How about us? Do we just accept times and finishes that are below our expectations? Do we chalk it up to age or say, "well maybe I'm not as good as I think I am." Many runners are all too eager to beat up on themselves.
#2. Doug never gave up on his goal and had a fierce burning desire to reach it. After being cut from the N.F.L. he regrouped and did what was necessary to be ready for another opportunity. Arthur Lydiard has said that it takes 7 to 10 years of adherence to a training system to actually realize your potential.These days that length of time sounds like a lifetime to most people. If you want something bad enough and it becomes a part of your being,time is irrelevant. As you recall in the previous Ron Daws article, self-examination and re-evaluation are integral to achieving success. Sub-par running and racing should cause us to do this. A faulty training system,or heaven forbid,not having one, could be the reason for someone not performing up to expectations. Also,we may not be putting in the time necessary to reach our goals. One of the beautiful things about distance running is that,unlike the sprints, if you're willing to put in the time and effort, you can realize a surprising degree of success. Most of us unfortunately underestimate how much is required.
#3. Flutie persisted despite criticism and scorn from others. I remember listening to the various local sports talk shows and reading the newspapers in the months following his signing,the reporting was overwhelmingly critical and at times mean spirited. How's your tolerance to people telling you,you can't do it,or worse yet, questioning why you are even bothering? If you want something bad enough and you love what you are doing,nothing, or no one can stop you from going for it.
#4. Doug loves what he does. Whether its practicing or playing in whatever type of league he's in,he loves the game. Here's an example of this from the Buffalo News: Flutie was hanging out with his brother and a bunch of friends after a game in Buffalo when he realized he'd left his jacket at the stadium,they went back to get it. Stadium security heard a commotion on the field and found Doug and his friends playing touch football. Teammates of Flutie remark that his enthusiasm for the game is infectious and has them feeling like their "kids" again playing for the love of the sport. Readers have read in this newsletter before,sure it takes time and effort to reach your ultimate running goal(s),but so what? You love running, that underlies everything you do. As Cerutty said,what seems like a sacrifice to others is a labor of love to us.
In closing I say,thanks Doug, you've not only inspired me but I've been reminded of what it really takes to be a champion.
Update--sadly, in this day and age, athletes like Doug Flutie rarely are given the opportunity to prove themselves in pro-sports, where the dollar rules and risk taking his rare.