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Courage As An Attribute
By Donny Shankle

The late coach Bill Starr laid out in his book, The Strongest Shall Survive, four physical attributes all athletes train to become great. They are strength, speed, coordination and flexibility. I add courage to the list because the body is not separate from the mind and it too must be quantifiable. You have to be courageous if you want to win. Yet the mind cannot be measured the same way as the body. It is measured during moments of pressure.

As a sportsman I admire the skills and competitiveness displayed across all sports. But as a man I see the best in ourselves who show us courage. For me the athletes who display the greatest courage while competing are the greatest athletes. Why should they not be? Are not the greatest warriors the warriors who display the greatest courage during combat? I admire them for what they do and how they do it. I love the idea anyone can achieve the same or greater if they are willing to work hard and not circumvent their challenges. 

If you want to win you have to be strong. In the jungle this will keep you from being eaten. In business it will keep you from dying bankrupt. As a weightlifter it will keep you at the top of the podium. Your mind is where your strength lies. Courage is it’s closest ally and it comes from the heart. Since the heart is a muscle, it too can be trained.