Posts Tagged passion for sports

Danny Welbeck’s Passion Ignored Doctors And Led To Football Fame

What impresses me most in this story (see boldface type below) by Martin Rogers is how when this world famous athlete was a young boy just getting started with a potentially crippling illness, he ignored doctors’ urgings to quit and played through his pain. I so admire this passion and determination. It’s among the noble traits of humans that deserve to be celebrated. And can you believe that these kids are just eight years old, when they trial for world class teams?

Danny Welbeck produced the most unusual and imaginative goal of Euro 2012 (European football) to hand England a desperately needed victory over Sweden on Friday and provide the highest point in a career that itself is a triumph against long odds.

Welbeck completed a dramatic comeback for England with the final goal in a 3-2 win in Kiev and leave his country needing just a draw against co-host Ukraine in its final match in Group D to guarantee a place in the quarterfinals.

The 21 year-old Manchester United striker had his back to the goal when Theo Walcott fired in a low cross from the right after 78 minutes, but he was able to flick the ball with the back of his right heel, sending it past Sweden goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson and into the net.

Welbeck (left) shows off his skill on the winning goal against Sweden—6/15/12. (AP)

It was Welbeck’s second goal for his country, and some fans had expressed doubts as to his suitability for a starting place in the absence of suspended first-choice forward Wayne Rooney. However, Welbeck is no stranger to overcoming adversity, having battled an unusual and debilitating condition as a child as well as being told he had no chance of becoming a professional.

Welbeck was diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease in his formative years, leaving him with excruciating pain and swelling in his knees. Doctors warned he should consider quitting soccer, claiming that continuing to train and play several times a week could cause ongoing pain and growth complications.

The youngster refused to give up on his dream of becoming a star, though, and regularly told his parents and coaches that the pain he felt was less serious than it really was. Finally, toward his late teenage years, the problem disappeared. It has never returned.

That was not the only hurdle he had to overcome. This might make uncomfortable reading for some Manchester City supporters, but United’s hated rival missed out on the opportunity to snap up Welbeck long before he eventually became a star.

Welbeck was part of City’s youth training program as a youngster but was not considered to have the potential to become a professional and was told not to return for future training sessions.

“I was trialing with City at the age of 8 but just before Christmas they told [my] dad I wasn’t good enough,” Welbeck said. “My dad didn’t want to tell me because it was Christmas, so I was oblivious to the situation for a while.”

A few months later, Welbeck was spotted by a United scout, and the rest is history.

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Tennis Fanatic

Fanatical…that’s what I have become. Playing tennis 25 days in the last 31 (or 16 out of 17 or 20 out of 24), reading tennis strategy books at night, watching tennis videos, practicing new serves (spin and kick), new ground strokes, new placements. I can’t get enough. Sometimes my game improves. Other times I can’t execute the new shots. But overall I am becoming better…just frustrated that there is still no consistency. At least when I play in the tougher competitions, my team no longer loses consistently. And my net game remains strong.

Of course I was glued to the TV during Wimbledon. And off today to Newport to watch the Campbell’s Cup ATP matches there, with Isner, Nishikori, Raonic and the Bryan Brothers playing.

In addition to all this, I have been working on new projects and handling my usual business and personal responsibilities. So no wonder I haven’t written much for this site. I miss those quiet moments of reflection and sharing.

My friend Joe is passionate about theater (he runs one), and no matter how tired he is, he always says that he is grateful to have such zest and zeal for the stage. Having a major interest that drives you incessantly isn’t something you can tack on to your life. It often takes over your life. It is a gift of sorts. There is no boredom, no wondering what you are going to do today, no feeling of “been there, done that.” There are many activities that no longer interest me, whether it is jumping out of planes, eating often in fine restaurants, shopping for wines and cheeses, attending black tie parties (those never did). But I am out of control, when it comes to hitting tennis balls. I love the challenge, the sweating, the cardio, the feel of a well-placed shot, or just hitting dozens of overheads—or mis-hitting them—launched by a ball machine. I love the tiredness, when the day’s playing is over.

I am very lucky to have found this sport, to be so passionate about it, however late in life. While I am so out of control, I will play as long as I can. And should my enthusiasm burn out, or I feel too many aches, or I am no longer able to play, well then it’s been a helluva ride.

At a business lunch this week, I heard two stories about two unrelated women who suddenly had headaches, went to the emergency room, and immediately needed surgery for inexplicable brain infections. Bacteria that are normal in the intestines had migrated to their brains and created life-threatening pain and injury. Both survived, although one took three years to recover her motor skills. Both had been healthy. This is the reality of being a human. Sure there are bombs and car accidents and burglars and hurricanes that can all damage or extinguish our existence. But there are also tiny organisms inside of us that can paralyze us and take away our good health without any warning or explanation. So if good health is this fragile, if life can be this fleeting, how can we not savor it, enjoy it, live it to the fullest when we are able? Have a great day!

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David Dougherty Is A Passionate Athlete Biking Furiously These Days

David Dougherty says that he is a very “kinetic” person who has been active in sports all his life. He needs athletics as a balance to his business and family life and thinks nothing of playing tennis in four different games on a weekend. Or playing tennis in the morning and a round of golf in the afternoon. He also sails at a nearby lake and in Newport, RI when he can. Winters are filled with snowboarding and very aggressive ping-pong contests.

Most mornings these days he heads to his local Connecticut gym, where he cycles for an hour or two on a stationary bike that has a program hooked up to an online internet account. This way he can change his virtual course and also document how many miles he “rides” and how many calories he burns over a documented number of hours.

David Dougherty Cycling the Miles

David Dougherty Cycling the Miles

At age 53, he is now on a real flurry, pedaling as much as 32.5 miles in two hours some days, which always begin around 6:30 am. Over the last four months he has ridden 864 miles, burned over 40,000 calories, and expects to pass the 1250-mile marker this month. He is proud of his slimming-down, muscling up and has the heart of a lion.

David Dougherty Pedaling Furiously Fast

David Dougherty Pedaling Furiously Fast

Now here is what he wrote to me:

“In leadership training school, I learned the principle that “you do physical training to make your body as vital as possible.” This included working out, diet, rest, etc. I have been working out 3-5 days a week, 45 -120 minutes a day for 30 years. So what may seem excessive to you has been a life style and a leadership culture I grew up in.

The only time I have really gotten away from this is in the last several years, because of my business travel…..you and I come from somewhat different planets and norms….I am amazed that you can stay in such good shape and not work out much….good genes….it takes a ton of work now …..more work to stay in worse shape…..”

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