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Inspiration, from some real pros
By Matt Stone

November 19, 2005

To those who would prefer having their days filled with enrichment rather than complexity, baseball great Matt Williams has some fundamental advice.

“The key to the whole thing we call ‘life’ is simplicity,” he said. “Thinking like a champion is thinking like a baby.”

Williams, along with Gold Medalist Dan O’Brien, took center stage at Corona del Sol High School to offer an audience estimated at up to 1,200 their advice on how to “Think Like a Champion.”

The auditorium was packed with a diverse crowd of young and old at the Nov. 15 fundraiser, eager to see and hear a former Olympic medalist and former World Series-winning third baseman.

O’Brien, winner of the gold medal in the decathlon in the 1996 summer Olympics, and Williams, a five-time All-Star and winner of the World Series in 2001 with the Diamondbacks, came to share their inspirational experiences with the crowd.

All proceeds from the event funneled back into the boys basketball Booster Club, which helps pay for summer camps, clothing and more.

Ticket sales were estimated as high as 1,200.

The event opened with a video reviewing Williams’ life and career. Following the video, Williams took the stage, preaching the concept of simplicity in life.

Using his own past experiences to illustrate his point, Williams instructed student-athletes as well as others in attendance to make life less complicated and to be more “simplistic in nature.” Williams illustrated his simple-approach technique by referring to the question of how to hit a curve ball, to which he replied, “I don’t miss the fastball.”

In O’Brien’s address, he explained how his career was one in which he went with the flow, until Milt Campbell, a former decathlete and Olympic Hall of Fame member, opened his eyes. Campbell, who shot down O’Brien’s initial goal of being a great athlete, inspired him to set his sights on becoming the world’s greatest athlete.

“You can’t be successful unless you know what you’re trying to accomplish,” O’Brien said.

This discovery, stressed O’Brien, is what every young athlete needs to truly meet his or her potential. O’Brien also revealed his secret to overcoming failure, as he did after failing to qualify for the 1992 Olympic games.

“The key to any sport is to forget your failures—and your successes,” he said. “You can achieve anything in your life if you never give up.”

O’Brien fielded questions at the end of his speech and afterwards displayed his Olympic Gold Medal.

A raffle following the speakers’ presentations included autographed pictures and jerseys, and even free personal training sessions with O’Brien.

The program concluded with an opportunity to meet and take photographs with the speakers.

With Aztec athletic teams present as well as many senior guests, both the young and the older generations walked away with words to live by.



Photos by David Stone




















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