Archive for July 15th, 2009

valvanoThere is a telethon of sorts today on ESPN.  Every year they take a day of broadcasting and devote it to raising money for the Jimmy V Foundation which raises money for cancer research.  The foundation is named after Jim Valvano, the college basketball coach who died from cancer back in 1993.

For those not familiar with Valvano, he was a pretty good coach but a great personality.  He is best known for his mad dash across the court looking for anyone to hug when his North Carolina State team improbably won the NCAA championship on a miraculous last second play.  His thick New York accent and fast, humorous banter were trademarks.

Well, every year during this day ESPN repeatedly plays Valvano’s final speech at the 1993 ESPY Awards, made mere weeks before he died.  I’ve seen and heard this speech probably a hundred times and am always moved by its power, humor and message.  It is a tour de force of speechmaking.  He makes you laugh.  He makes you cry.  But at the end, he makes you think about how you’re living your own life.  His words make you want to be better.

That’s real inspiration.

Here’s the speech.  It’s about 11 minutes long but trust me, if you haven’t seen it , it won’t be time wasted.  If you want to learn more about his foundation, click on the Coach’s picture above.

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