Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Strong, Tough and Relentless
I have often wondered how many people give up when the reward for hard work is right around the corner. I have a feeling it happens much too often. For the past four years or so I’ve had my eye on a young man who has continued to work extremely hard when most would have given up a long time ago.
I first met James Liipfert when he was in the eighth grade. He spent the night with a group of boys at our house. Our youngest son had transferred to Westfield Schools in Perry, GA and James was one of the boys in his class who quickly befriended him and made him feel welcome.
During the next few years I watched James become a leader in his class and ultimately his school. I saw his leadership on the baseball field, the track field, the basketball court, the football field and in the classroom. I couldn’t help but smile when he ran over people on the football field when he had the ball or when the other team had the ball. He was strong and tough … and relentless.
And he is still strong and tough and relentless.
But off the field he is always the perfect gentleman. I have always been taught that you can judge a man’s character by the way he treats others. I pegged James early on as a young man who had been raised incredibly right by his parents.
When James graduated from high school, he had several opportunities to play college football. When you are selected as Player of the Year in your region two years running, rush for over 1000 yards, and make over 100 tackles as a junior and senior, college recruiters will be knocking on your door. The challenge is when you graduate from a small private school, the opportunities will most likely come from smaller colleges.
I was not surprised when James decided to forego a college football career at a small college to attend Georgia Tech to pursue a Management degree. I was also not surprised when James walked on the Georgia Tech Football team without a scholarship. And I was also not surprised when he made the team. James was redshirted his first year and has spent the last four years as a Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket somehow balancing a very tough academic schedule with a very tough athletic schedule.
With limited playing time but a whole lot of long days and body weary practices for the past four years James continued his relentless spirit. He simply refused to give up or give in. This year, which is his senior year, James was rewarded for his relentless spirit and hard work when he was given a full athletic scholarship at Georgia Tech.
Napoleon Hill was right when he said, “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”
James, a young man of great faith, is quick to tell anyone who will listen that he considers himself blessed by God because he was raised by incredible parents, surrounded by incredible family and friends and raised in a church where he was taught the principles of God’s Word at an early age.
I have to tell you - this Georgia Bulldog will be looking for #30 every time Georgia Tech takes the field this year and I will be cheering James Liipfert on every play. More importantly, I will be cheering him on in life after he graduates next year.
Trust me – this strong, tough and relentless gentleman will accomplish great things before he is done.