Now we’ll move away from tennis, and for that matter away from household names, to focus on a newer example of the perseverance that can be demonstrated through sport.
James Conner is a rookie in the NFL, set to play as a backup running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He may well have a wonderful career ahead of him. But Conner became a legend of sorts, at least among fans of American football, when he was still playing in college.
Conner played at the University of Pittsburgh, and was one of the most powerful and impressive running backs in college football. However, midway through his college career he tore his MCL during a game. While rehabbing, he was diagnosed with a form of cancer known as Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
That was in the fall of 2015, and less than a year later he had beaten the disease and gotten in shape to play in Pittsburgh’s opening game. It’s an incredible story, and one reason that Conner had the top-selling jersey in the NFL at one point this summer, even as a rookie who’s never played a minute of professional football.
These are some of the most impressive figures in world sport. We often keep them on too high a pedestal to be able to climb up; so we do the next best thing – we admire them from below. But the challenges they’ve overcome and the improbably achievements they’ve made are definitely inspiration. If they can do such “huge” things, why should we give up? Their stories of perseverance in the face of extreme difficulties are great examples of what can happen if you just keep going.
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