College football is finally here! With football now getting considerable calendar time (or, let’s face it, most of our weekends), we thought we’d share a few sports legends whose careers will inspire you. They defied the odds, and you can too!
Ever heard of Zeke Zaragoza? If not, you need to! Well, before Oklahoma State’s long snapper was long-snapping, he was diagnosed by a team of 25 neurologists with opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, a rare disorder that affects the nervous system, and confined to a wheelchair.
Told he might be able to walk but never would be able to play sports, Zaragoza defied the odds. After playing three years of high school football, he went on to play at San Bernardino Valley College, making the All-California team in 2019. After receiving scholarship offers at lower-level schools, he chose to walk on at Oklahoma State. So far, he’s got a perfect long snap record. Watch for #63 this year!
Hall of Famer Bill Russell was a 5-time NBA MVP, 12-time All-Star, and his Boston Celtics hoisted the championship trophy 11 times in 13 seasons, the last two of which Russell served as player-coach. (Talk about defying the odds!) With 11 NBA championships, two high school championships, two college championships, and an Olympic gold medal, Bill Russell is the winningest athlete in history, doing it all at a time when life for an African-American was not free of challenges.
In recognition of his athletic accomplishments and contributions to the civil rights movement, Bill Russell was awarded our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 2011. Russell lived a legendary life before passing away peacefully on July 31 at 88 years of age.
Race did not stop him.
On August 2, we lost MLB icon Vin Scully at the age of 94. He served as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Brooklyn and then Los Angeles Dodgers from 1950 to 2016 (the longest stretch of any broadcaster with a single team in the history of professional sports).
At the young age of 26 in 1953, Scully became the youngest person in history to broadcast a World Series game. That record still stands today. He called 26 World Series in all, along with 18 no-hitters, and three perfect games. In recognition of his long and legendary career, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
Age is just a number.
Imagine a 5’3” friend of yours dreaming of a career in the NBA. Sound impossible? Think again. Point guard Muggsy Bogues rocked the ACC at Wake Forest and entered the NBA in 1987. Though short in stature, he racked up some crazy high stats (we’re talking 6,858 total points) and enjoyed a long career of 889 games across 15 seasons. He’s currently ranked #23 in all-time assists.
Size should never block you.
There are so many more heroic tales of overcomers both inside and outside of the sports world. So, what’s your adventure? What’s your dream? Don’t even consider the odds stacked against you. Defy them. You can overcome anything. Do you love it enough? If you want something, go get it.
Groove Life®. Ready for Adventure™.