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Be Like Mike

Be Like Mike
May 15, 2020 Michael Harlow

This is a message from Coach Ryan Middleton…

I’m sure that most of you have at least heard of the 10-part documentary about the 1998 Chicago Bulls entitled The Last Dance. Camera crews were allowed unrestricted access to the Chicago Bulls team during what would be Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson’s last season with the organization. Throughout this series, there are clips of Jordan’s accomplishments, life events, his championship runs, as well as interviews with his teammates and competitors.

After the Bull’s third championship, Michael Jordan was over the spotlight. He then enters his first retirement and takes up the game of baseball. He immediately is sent to AA ball which is rare but none of the stadiums could hold the number of fans that would come and watch him play.

When most people recall Michael’s baseball career, it is usually with the tone or perception that he wasn’t very good. However, this was not the case. He started his career with a 13-game hitting streak! Then teams realized that we must avoid throwing him fastballs and stick to the breaking ball. This is where Jordan hit a slump, but this is also where Jordan’s work ethic shined above everyone else. Coaches said that he would get up in the morning and take hours of batting practice on the breaking ball machine. He would arrive at practice early and hit some more, and he would stay late. Coaches said that no one outworked him. Next thing you know, Jordan bats .202 as a rookie and drives in 50 RBIs! The coaches made it very clear that had Michael played another year or two, he would have made the major leagues without question.

As athletes and even in life, we tend to avoid the things that are difficult. It is human nature to shy away from adversity. However, it is within adversity that we grow. I’m sure that we can all recall certain life events, conversations, and difficult situations that brought a positive change within us as individuals. Within our sport of endurance, I can guarantee that we all have weaknesses. And more than likely, we shy away from those and gravitate towards the area of the sport where we excel. I want to encourage you all to get in the trenches and work on those weaknesses. Whether it’s a certain discipline, or something such as flexibility and mobility, address your weaknesses. I promise that you won’t regret it.

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