Rock Chalk, Jayhawk. KU! – The Affirmation Spot for Friday January 4, 2008

Today’s affirmation is:

“My ability to believe is the only limit on my success.”

mangino_orange_bowl.jpgIn one of the great rags to riches sports stories of the year, the Kansas Jayhawk football team completed a storybook 12-1 season last night with a 24-21 “upset” over perennial power Virginia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl.

 The story is truly inspirational. It about a group of under-recruited players who came together as a team and created something greater than the sum of its parts.

As a proud KU grad, I normally have to wait for basketball season to have something to cheer about. Not since 1969 had KU even played a football game in January or in a major bowl. Never  in 100+ years of football had the school won 11 games in a season. Never had a KU team made it to a BCS bowl game.

2007 was different. The Jayhawks began the season with big blowouts over lesser opponents. Many criticized the non-conference schedule as soft and it took the poll voters time to believe in this team. I understand because it took me until last night to really finally believe in them.

Surely, many thought, they will start losing when they reach Big 12 play. Only the Jayhawks kept rolling along. Piling up win after win against teams used to counting KU as a sure victory on their schedule. “Well,” the non-believers argued, “they didn’t have to play Oklahoma, Texas, or Texas Tech.” True enough. The KU schedule benefited from not having to play these teams.

The problem with all this naysaying is that many KU fans can remember when there were no sure wins on the football schedule. They played “lesser” opponents and struggled or lost to them. A game against KU was an opportunity to pad the statistics for the Nebraskas, K-States, Oklahomas, and Texas’ of the world.

This year the Jayhawks beat K-State for the third time in four years after 11 straight losses. They pummeled Nebraska 73-39 in a game that surely sealed the fate of Nebraska coach Bill Callahan.

Sixth year coach Mark Mangino was simply following the game plan of mentor and former Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder. Play the games your scheduled to play and win them. Beginning in 1989, Snyder created another Kansas football miracle when he took the lowliest football program in college football history – K-State – and turned them into perennial contenders for Big 8, Big 12, and even national titles.

And now the student has achieved something similar down the road in Lawrence. There is another Kansas college football miracle in the making.

One word characterizes this year’s KU team – BELIEF. They believed in themselves and each other when no one else did. The pollsters did not believe. The media did not believe. Even many KU fans, myself included, were slow to believe.

But Coach Mangino, his coaches, and the players never stopped believing in themselves. That is the key to every success we ever have in life. Every great endeavor attracts a chorus of naysayers telling us it cannot be done. If you undertake an endeavor, you can count on it. As long as WE BELIEVE, anything is possible.

Afterall, people told the Wright Brothers they would never fly. People said TV was a fad. People said we could never go to the moon. People said KU could not beat a team like Virginia Tech. People are often wrong, but our belief that we can acheive some goal is never wrong.

As you begin to pursue your goals in 2008, you may encounter the naysayers. When you do remember the KU football team and keep believing.

Be peaceful Be prosperous.

Ray

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