Yesterday I was channel surfing and stopped when it came to ESPN. They were commemorating Jim Valvano's ESPY speech from March 4, 1993. I can't believe that 20 years has passed since that speech. While I remember the speech vaguely (I was 10 years old at the time), I didn't really appreciate the content of his speech or recognize the significance of what he was saying. It has been only recently that I can really relate to his words.
After finding out how deathly sick he was when he made that speech, it is remarkable that he still lived his life to the fullest while doing the "Three things everyone should do a day...laugh, think and cry." Those 3 things were an inspirational part of his speech that asked us to appreciate and live each day as possibly our last. In my particular personal experience, I was deployed with the U.S. Army in Iraq from 2003-2004. Every day, my life as well as the life of my comrades was at peril. Comparing my own experience to Jim Valvano's a parallel theme was present. The parallel theme was that being alive was NOT a given and that I only had the immediate moment to count on.
I lost my father 2 years ago and I can still remember what my father told me. He said, "Son, you have to make the most of what life presents you and live your life with no regrets or fear. Live your life to the fullest and appreciate the moment." I can relate what my father told me to Jim Valvano's speech. They both were able to see with clarity the importance of the moment and not living in the past or future. My father and Jim Valvano knew that their time was limited but still lived for the moment like a person who wasn't dying.
I think that people, including myself, lose perspective of what is important and forget to enjoy the moments in life. I think that we tend to regret paths not taken or taken and worried about where we are going. We forget the importance of the moment until that is all we have left. Only when knowing that our life is fragile, on a timer and we can't look beyond the short term is when we appreciate what we have.
Thank you Jim Valvano, for your inspirational words and for showing me that life is beyond timelines and deadlines. Life should be enjoyed and cherished, even through challenging or upsetting times. Even 20 years later, your words have credible meaning and continues to inspire others. I hope I am one of many who honor your memory by taking your words to heart and applying it to our lives. You were more than just some basketball coach and sports authority, you are and continue to be an inspiration.
Thank you, Jim Valvano, Thank you.