I draw inspiration from a lot of sources: musicians, writers, athletes, even the occasional politician. It’s amazing how far some people have come and the dedication they’ve committed to their dreams. That dedication often helps to get me off my keister and get going on my own dreams when I’d rather lounge around or throw myself a pity party.
This last weekend I witnessed another example of amazing dedication.
One of the few sports I follow is Supercross. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the motorcycle racing they do in large stadiums, the ones with the complicated tracks and big jumps. It’s an entertaining sport to watch and great to see live if you ever get the chance. It’s also very competitive. Usually only a handful of guys are fighting for that top spot while the rest struggle to keep their jobs and earn a living. It’s also very demanding physically, and injury is a constant concern.
This last weekend was Daytona, and the winner was a rider by the name of Justin Brayton. This is significant for two reasons. First, Justin set the record for being the oldest rider to win a 450cc main event at the age of 33 (almost 34). Supercross is a young man’s sport, and if you’re over 30, you’re old. In that respect, it’s quite the accomplishment.
But here’s the kicker (and the inspiration):
It’s his first victory in 131 starts.
It took 131 attempts for Justin to grab his first win. A supercross season is a total of 17 races. If you never miss a race due to injury or illness (a rarity), it would take almost 8 seasons to start 131 times. For 8 years, this guy practiced, trained, worked with mechanics, traveled to cities throughout the country, struggled with doubt, rode through pain, and left his family at home to try yet again to get his first win.
8 years. 131 starts.
And it finally happens.
That’s incredible to me. Astounding. I can’t imagine the amount of doubt that can linger in a mind that goes 8 years without a win, especially in our culture where the term “success” is so heavily associated with winning. 131 attempts to finally get there. That’s persistence I can’t even imagine.
Congratulations to Mr. Brayton to his first victory, a win well deserved, and a huge thank you for displaying the amazing power of persistence.