“To play without passion is inexcusable!”
Who do you think made this statement? Coach Lombardi? Casey Stengel? Lou Holtz? Woody Hayes?
Each of the above coaches certainly said similar words and they knew how to use words to move others to work a little harder and win the often unwinnable games. Words have tremendous power.
The man who made today’s statement was a winner in every sense of the word and made his mark on the world in spite of numerous handicaps. Oh, get me right, he was a world class player and teacher. He, as many men who rise to greatness, had his father as coach and his father often brutalized him when he made a key mistake. His childhood was the talk of the town where he grew to manhood. Yet, somehow he persisted and demonstrated the truth of the statement I’m sharing today. Let’s look at it again:
“To play without passion is inexcusable.” Ludwig Van Beethoven.
I quote Mr. Beethoven, who never heard some of his best music due to going deaf, to share with you my idea that no one ever really gets near their maximum achievement without passion. Halfhearted performance in all areas of life is passed off as pretty much a waste of time for the performer and listener, or in the case of sports, the fan. The Scottish Soccer coach, Bill Shankly, told this story, “Someone said to me 'To you football is a matter of life or death!' and I said 'Listen, it's more important than that.’”
I have lost track of many people who really had talent, yet they never really made any progress and the reason is easy to figure out, they “played” without passion.
Jesus Christ, in His famous motivation speech to the churches via John on the Isle of Patmos, said this to one underperforming church:
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16.
I wonder if this passage was the inspiration for Beethoven’s statement?
Copyright © 2014 Larry Lilly
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