Everyone loves a good underdog story; USA taking down Russia in the 1980 Olympics, Appalachian State football taking down Michigan, Michael Jordan and the Toon Squad defeating the Monstars in the cinematic masterpiece, Space Jam. They are feel good stories that many of us can relate too, and are downright entertaining.
But then there are those stories that no one could even fathom; stories so ridiculous that even Hollywood would laugh them off. 2018 has seen its far share of improbable stories. We are in the midst of one of the more memorable runs by a team in NCAA Men's Basketball history, in Loyola Chicago. They look to become the first No. 11 seed team to win a Division 1 National Championship.
In Pyeongchang, South Korea, at the 2018 Winter Olympics, John Shuster lead the U.S. Men's curling team to their first gold medal in history. Among their opponents, they defeated three-time defending champion Canada, and world no. 1 ranked Sweden.
Just down the road, freestyle skier Elizabeth Swaney qualified for the Hungarian National Team and competed in the women's halfpipe. In what was described as a, "perfectly mediocre run," Swaney skied down the halfpipe without attempting a trick. She placed dead last, and was the subject of much derision for "gaming the system." However, for years she traveled around the globe and competed in numerous qualifying events, eventually garnering enough points to make it to South Korea. The result? She ended up on an Olympic stage, something that 99% of us cannot say we did. Regardless of your views, it cannot be denied how much dedication to compete around the world this took.
More recently, a 36-year-old accountant found himself in goal for the Chicago Blackhawks. You read that right. Scott Foster was tabbed as emergency goalie in a March 29 game against the Winnipeg Jets. When both of Chicago's goalies got injured, Foster was the next man up. He stopped all 7 shots he faced and when the final horn sounded, he was swarmed by his teammates, while the United Center showered him with affection. Today? He's back at his job as an accountant.
Mark Spartan down for one as well. Josh Fiore, a Boston firefighter in his final year of a Physician's Assistant program at Northeastern, won the inaugural Iceland Ultra World Championship. However, he was not done. When he crossed the finish line, Fiore got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend. What is noteworthy, is that this race featured 2015 World Champion Robert Killian, which made Fiore's win all the more memorable.
What can be learned from 2018? In my mind, two things. 1. You never know what is going to happen unless you try. 2. When presented with an opportunity (like Scott Foster was), you take it and see where it goes.
Did your friend sign you up for a race without you knowing? Get out there, give it your best shot, and have fun. You may do 150 burpees, or you may find yourself on that podium. Point is, you never know what will happen until you try.
See you out there.
Feeling inspired? Download The 2018 Spartan Training Plan to prepare for your race.