“I’ve got this damn cancer, it’s my challenge, I don’t know what your challenge is..I don’t know what everybody’s challenge is but we all have challenges.” 1:36 in video below – Coach Terry Ennis
When I was in High School, playing football at Archbishop Murphy High School in Everett, WA, Derek Klein and his team followed us from my sophomore year until my class graduated – working on the documentary above. I came across it the other day and was reminded of the challenges we face.
Challenges that seem to be so insurmountable but in comparison to others seem so… silly. I have spoken about Character and the Relentless Lifestyle on this site before and it’s only fair I give credit where credit is due.
Coach Terry Ennis, every year it seems, inherited a handful of young, immature, confused and not-likely to succeed kids. Every year he also watched grown men graduate and go on to continue their education. Grown men, even at the young age of 18 years old, that would look you in the eye, shake your hand and do it with confidence… grown men that four years before where the lost, confused, misdirected Freshman of Archbishop Murphy High School. He had a knack for putting young men (and women) on the right track, and a knack for winning football games (or any sport he coached, for that matter.)
He was an athletic director, football coach, mentor, husband, father and role model…
From what I remember, he was also tired.
So tired, in fact, that he once had to be helped off the field after a victory in Las Vegas. So tired that often times he could not stand on his own or even stay awake for an entire football practice. Do you think he ever missed a day? A meeting? Between his chemotherapy (which is more than many can handle), Athletic Director duties, and Family he found time to dedicate to us, the football team. He had time to watch film, game plan and help us DOMINATE everyone….just like nothing was even wrong. He even found time to continue to believe it and advocate for me. As many times I was too tired to show up to workout, or too lazy to practice at 100% , or too fucking tired/lazy/distracted to keep my grades up – you better believe Ennis was on me…
And then he was gone.
I think we all kind of believed that cancer could not win.
As we sat in the locker room, tears flowing, all I could think about his challenge. How tired he looked. How tired he must have been.
I thought about how I had trouble even waking up on time to make it to school on time most days, how boring homework was, how I was never handed anything that I wanted. I thought about my challenge… and realized I didn’t have one. My challenge was lack of purpose, self worth and character. I remember I said to a friend of mine that I wasn’t upset that Ennis was gone, instead I was upset that he was the only one who refused to give up on me – and he will never see my success.
I will never, in my life, know the restlessness he felt. And I may never influence people the way he did or walk as tall under such pressure… but I will never let my challenges get the best of me. Coach Ennis never said a word to me about his battle, he never once talked about how hard he works or how much he did…he led by example and I was fortunate to be around to follow.
Next time you feel “too tired” or “too lazy” – look around. There are people out there fucking dominating everything they do, they gave a big middle finger to their challenge.
Think about your family, your friends, your dreams, your passion. Go out and achieve everything. Build a better life for your kids, take care of those that matter to you, build wealth, build your body…do it all. Find your challenge and attack it.
Or are you too tired?