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Where the Brave Dare Not Go

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I have always been reluctant to rely on mainstream conversation to dictate for me what is or isn’t real. Whether or not everybody is talking about something yet, has never been my measuring stick for what can or can not be.


I hear a lot of people say a lot of things. As a matter of fact, a lot of people say a lot of the same things over and over, just because a lot of people are saying that same thing, so that pretty soon, that same thing that everyone has been saying over and over again, begins to determine just how high we might fly or how long we might passively comply with furthering someone else’s intention to maintain the status quo. The careless talk that we allow ourselves to agree with and then repeat will profoundly shape the very reality in which we must all ultimately exist.


I have always been reluctant to listen to what “everybody” is saying and I remain more than a little bit suspect of anything that “everyone” is saying, crystal clear that anytime everyone is saying the same thing about some thing, mediocrity will surely prevail.


He was simply a hockey coach from Minnesota. Just an ordinary guy, living in a modest house on a quiet street, who in the winter of 1980 did, in fact, what many people said, could not be done.


At a time when the United States was desperately losing faith, clinging doubtfully to a confidence that the future would be better than the past, Herb Brooks groomed a team of young men to reach for greatness and he challenged them to see beyond simply settling for what common sense and logic would predict.


“There is a way. There is a way,”


is what he would tell those boys again and again until they finally started to believe it too. And, when they took that conversation with them onto the ice in Lake Placid, New York on February 22nd, 1980, like poetry in motion, they succeeded in doing what nobody ever expected they could—those twenty young men, who were a long shot for a medal, who were only expected to play just well enough so as not to embarrass their country, did what couldn’t be done when they beat the best team in the world. Their miraculous triumph over the seasoned Russian team, gold medalist in the ’64, ’68, ’72, and ’76 Olympics, stunned a generation and shifted the mood of a nation. Those who were there and saw it first hand, agree that it was more than a hockey game. It was—A chance for one night, not only to dream, but a chance once again to believe.


Imagine.


How hard do you have to mentally train in order to discipline yourself to respond only to the sound of possibility? And how determined do you have to be to teach yourself how to hear way past the everyday noise that everyman makes? You’ve got to be willing to turn a deaf ear in an effort to hear—“You are destined.”


It would seem that Herb Brooks had always been guided by some higher calling and that he maintained his vision through an unwillingness to hear it any other way. He sustained the courage to pursue by refusing to get sucked into, and caught up with, any kind of talk that would attempt to shut him down.


He thought in shades of “born to be” and spoke in tones of “because we can!” And when they routinely told him that the Soviets could not be defeated, he fought back in bold strokes—“Screw them! This is your time! Now go out there and take it!”


When they questioned his methods, when they challenged his resolve, when scoreboard after scoreboard threatened to confirm what he refused to concede, Herb Brooks remained faithful to the voice in his heart. He chose to listen to the sound that transmitted above all of the noise, whispering louder than his doubt could shout—then he won.


With every word that he spoke and with every move that he made Herb Brooks allowed himself to be driven by what he knew he would one day achieve.


And you?


When was the last time that you considered tuning out for a while so that you could discover your own voice? How long has it been since you allowed yourself to be carried away by the sweet sound of what could be, if only you’d believe?


Only you can determine what is real for you and what is not, and you are the only one who should ever measure for you how high you can fly, how far you will reach, how long you will endure, what you will listen to and what must be—ignored.


 


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