I’ve idolized sports heroes my entire life.
Kobe Bryant. Lebron James. Michael Jordan.
These guys were my source of motivation and the persona I took on when taking the buzzer-beater shot to win the game in my driveway. I tried to be just like them. I played like they played, shot like they shot, and even wore their jerseys for an extra boost of motivation.
But as I grew older, and started to wear my own jersey, I found myself idolizing a new set of heroes — the players that wore the jersey before me.
As I put on my lacrosse jersey, I remembered all of the exceptional athletes that wore #17 before me. I visualized all the sweat and blood that was shed in that jersey. All the game-winning shots, the big hits, and times #17 got knocked down only to get right back up.
Remembering the history of my jersey got fired me up. It kicked me in the ass and motivated me to play.
As I put on my jersey, I was reminded of all the ‘greats’ that came before me. I was the next in line. I didn’t want to let them down. I wanted to honor those that wore #17 by wearing it with pride, honor, and excellence.
I wanted to live up to those that wore it before me.
While most of us no longer play team sports, the practice of honoring those before you is still incredibly powerful. Whether you’re a runner, a CrossFit athlete, a triathlete, a weightlifter, or engage in any fitness discipline, this strategy will work for you.
Here’s to Honor Those That Came Before You
1. Find your Hero
Find someone that you really admire. Someone that you look up to who does amazing things you never thought you could do yourself. It could be a professional athlete, someone you follow on Instagram, or even a friend or relative.
For me, that hero is The Iron Cowboy (aka James Lawrence). The guy’s an absolute savage, having completed 50 Ironmans, in 50 days, in all 50 states — 50.50.50 as he calls it. On top of that, he’s a genuinely good dude and someone that motivates me to be a better human being.
2. Find Your ‘Jersey’
This is the fun part. Next, find or buy something that reminds you of your hero. It could be their jersey, a shirt from their store, or even a piece of clothing from a brand they’re associated with. It really doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something that reminds you directly of the hero every time you put it on.
For example, James has developed his own Iron Cowboy brand. I bought a hat from his store that has the logo on it. Every time I put on that black trucker hat with the Iron Cowboy logo on it I’m reminded of James.
3. Wear it With Pride
Lastly, you have to honor the hero that came before you. As you put on your ‘jersey’ (hat, T-shirt, shorts, etc.), remember your hero. Remember all the amazing things your hero did/does, and remember that you’re wearing their name. You’re representing your hero with their name on your back. Respect it. Honor it. And let it motivate you past what you thought you were capable of.
Every time I put on that black trucker hat, I’m reminded of James. I’m reminded of his 50.50.50 accomplishment. I’m reminded of the person he is, of how he lives his life, and how I want to live mine.
Every time I put on that hat, it lights a fire under my ass and gets me motivated to not let him down.
It’s that simple. Be a kid again, wear your heroes jersey. Let it motivate you and give you that extra kick in the ass you needed to push through that grueling workout.