Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Treasuring the Present: Jimmy V... Don't Give Up! Don't Ever Give Up!

This week is Jimmy V. week in the sports world.

If you do one thing for yourself today, PLEASE take the 12 minutes to watch Jimmy Valvano's speech as he accepted the first ever awarded Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award.  My thoughts are below, but my thoughts are not the important part of this post.  WATCH HIS SPEECH.

This speech was given on March 3, 1993 at the ESPY Awards when Jimmy V. received the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award.  Jimmy V. was actually the first ever recipient of this award.

Many expected that Jimmy V., whose body was riddled with tumors, who impressed many simply by being present, in person to receive the award, would stand up at the mic... if he could even get to the mic, say "Thank You" and sit down.

On that night, in March, Jimmy V. gave the world a gift by accepting the Arthur Ashe award.  He bestowed wisdom that outlived him and offered advice, which has been immortalized.

In addition to a speech that will never be topped, Jimmy V. announced the creation of The V Foundation For Cancer Research.

I do not remember a world without cancer, so it is hard for me to believe that in 1993 (my lifetime) that money for cancer research was not a high priority.  The V Foundation has lived on... a college basketball tournament occurs every year (Jimmy V. was a great college basketball coach) to raise money for cancer research.  The tournament is happening this week.

This speech will give you such a gift.
The enduring tag line of the speech -- Don't Give Up!  Don't EVER Give Up!
So much said, with so much heart.

For all the emotion, the advice, the stories, the humor, the meaning of this speech, my favorite part, I'm sure, was not in Jimmy V.'s original version.

Seven minutes into the speech, Jimmy V. looks at the camera and acknowledges that the camera is flashing at him saying "30 seconds to wrap it up."  No one in the audience knows that this message is occurring, but Jimmy V. does not oblige with the 30 second warning.  Neither does he ignore it.  He acknowledge the warning.  He says,
"That screen is flashing up there '30 seconds' - Like I care about that screen right now, Huh?  I got tumors all over my body, I'm worried about some guy going '30 seconds' Huh?"
Then he throws in an Italian phrase, which I don't know what it means, but you can take a guess for yourself.  :-D

What a moment of true honesty.  His speech begins with this same honesty.  He says, "Time is very precious to me. I don't know how much I have left and I have some things that I would like to say."

I am starting to border a document the length of a dissertation on this speech, but before I close, I want to clarify -- Why did I post this speech today, under Treasuring the Present, when Jimmy V. is no longer with us?

Did you listen to his speech?
Don't Give Up! Don't EVER Give Up!

Three things we should do every day:
1. Laugh
2. Think
3. Have your emotions moved to tears

Treasure the Present:

Jimmy V. died less than two months after this speech.
God Bless Him.

Are you treasuring the present?
Have you Laughed, Thought, Cried today?

For a little more on the Jimmy V. speech:

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