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Beating the Odds

Lessons of the Space Race

The trip to the moon brings so many lessons that you could talk about one aspect every day before practice, and still have some left over when the season ends.

Today let’s talk about one that has particular relevance to sports — rivalries. Great rivals bring out the best. In the 1960s, the United States faced a great rival in the then-Soviet Union. Both countries were large. Both had suffered greatly in World War II. Both emerged from that conflict with an aim to develop nuclear arsenals. And both saw space as a way to showcase values and capabilities.
As it turns out, the Soviet Union was the first to put a satellite into orbit. Then came more astounding feats: an unmanned craft to the moon, the first man to orbit the Earth, the first woman in space, etc.

All this got the attention of the United States. Suddenly there was a “Space Race.”

President Kennedy set a goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth before 1970. Vast resources of time, money and thought went into the project, which ended in success.

None of it would have been possible without the work of a great rivals.

So here’s the moral: Love your competition. The bigger and better your rivals, the more you should embrace them. Nothing will bring out your imagination, strength, courage, resilience and resourcefulness the way a great rival will.

Look at the intensity of the great rivalries: Yankees-Red Sox, Redskins-Cowboys, Oilers-Flames, Michigan-Ohio State, etc. Each of those teams knows it must prepare and work in a special way because of rivals will be waiting down the road.

The Soviet Union brought out the greatness in American science and technology. Let your rivals bring out the best in you.


One comment for “Lessons of the Space Race”

  1. We need more iignshts like this in this thread.

    Posted by Zavrina | January 25, 2012, 7:10 am

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