Attack each day with determination, strong mindset


It’s amazing what determination and a strong mindset can do. I’ve always been enamored by it, and have had the opportunity to witness friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances in everyday life overcome

great obstacles because they were determined not to give up and take a step forward every day.

I had to embrace that mindset when I was a senior in high school. In the middle of my senior baseball season, I suffered a ruptured appendix and found myself in the intensive care unit of the local hospital for two weeks. I was in the hospital for a total of three. After my surgery was completed, I was told my appendix was the size of a hot dog and it had been ruptured for about a week. I had played two baseball games in that span and thought I just had a little back pain.

I was surely wrong and was told I could’ve died if I had waited any longer. I guess that just shows how stubborn I was back then.

I didn’t want to let that medical hiccup stop me from getting back on the field though. Before I went in for surgery, my baseball coach, who I’d known since I was young, simply said, “I’ll see you back on the field in a couple of weeks.” He knew the type of person I was and the type of determination I had. He knew I wouldn’t give up on my teammates or myself.

I returned to the diamond in time for playoffs, and we went on to win a Section V title that season. It turned into one of the greatest memories of my life. Not just because of the result, but because of the journey it took to get there.

I recalled that special season recently when a former athlete I covered in Beaver County, which is just over the state line in Pennsylvania, reached out to me to tell me about his journey.

Cody Ross was a senior at Freedom High School (Pa.) and continued his football career at Slippery Rock University. On the second day of camp last season, Cody blew out his knee, tearing his ACL and several other ligaments. He was told by doctors he might not be able to run, or attempt to run, for at least two years.

However, over this past year, Cody put in the work to make a return for his final season of college football. After “putting his faith in God and working hard every day,” he said, he made a miraculous recovery and was recently cleared to return to the field for his final season.

Cody reached out to me because he wanted to share his story and pass on a message to younger athletes about never giving up, no matter the odds. But while Cody’s message stands true for young athletes across the country, I think his sage advice can benefit more than just athletes.

In everyday life, we see people struggling with obstacles that seem impossible to overcome at the moment, but they continue to fight, scratch and claw every day to battle past whatever may lie in their way. Having a strong and determined mindset to keep pushing forward is something that truly helps people overcome life’s hardships every day, and Cody’s journey is just another example of that.

At the 1993 ESPYs, legendary men’s basketball coach and founder of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, Jim Valvano, coined the famous phrase that is now used around the country, and the world, consistently.

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up,” he said.

I think that should ring true for athletes, students, employees, leaders, administrators and anyone facing a challenge in their life. Don’t give up. Attack any problem you have with a strong mindset and determination. You’ll overcome that obstacle, move past it and become better because of it.

Sometimes, all you need is a reminder that you’re strong enough to do so and stories

like Cody’s, Valvano’s and others are a great reminder of that.

So, don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Have an interesting news story? Email Greg Macafee at gmacafee@tribtoday.com or follow him on X, formerly Twitter, at @greg_macafee.


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