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Beating the Odds

Great Ventures

“In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.” — Unknown

Talk about March Madness. And February Madness. And January Madness.

Paul Ridley landed on the Caribbean island of Antigua yesterday, completing three months spent crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

He rowed it.


Ridley undertook the voyage as a memorial to his mother. In doing so, he reminded everyone else what is possible. His story contains just about every element of peak performance: a high goal, preparation to match that goal, hard work and a refusal to quit.

So while various sports dramas were unfolding (UConn’s women going 36-0, Michigan State’s men upending Louisville and Tiger Woods overtaking Shawn O’Hair), Ridley’s was coming to an end. And now, more than ever, he knows the power of endurance.

“My hands may be blistered, my seat is sore but I love the journey,” he blogged at one point.

So the next time coaches and athletes face obstacles, they can ask if the problem is anything compared to those that Ridley faced down: soreness, fatigue, loneliness and even danger. Well out at sea, he was well out of his comfort zone.

“I’m definitely suffering from exposure to the elements and I’ve lost 20 pounds. This is definitely different from my life at home,”CNN quoted Ridley as saying before his arrival.

Coach Tully’s Extra Point: In 1896, two men became the first to row across the Atlantic. You can read about them here.


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