By Terry Carter, Editor
As a veteran athlete and sports editor, I am occasionally asked to make a list or speak on greatness.
I often surprise people if they don’t specifically pin me down to a very specific list, such as the greatest high school athletes of all-time or the best games I’ve covered. But my All-Time Greatest People I Want To Spend A Day With doesn’t include many athletes.
It does, however, include icons and life changers who cannot be equaled. The list is a compendium of all of the great athletes, movers & shakers the world has known.
Here is a brief summary of my Favorite Five. All were tremendous achievers against great odds, proving once again that adversity brings greatness to the surface for all to see. And, no, one day would not be near enough time to learn from these wizards of wisdom.
5. STEVE JOBS — The Apple Computer founder and creative/marketing genius passed away recently, but he changed the way we talk, communicate, listen to and obtain or create music. He changed movies and was fearless. If he agreed with you, it was still a stretch to have a calm conversation with a man as driven to perfection and style as Steve. Steve imagined the perfect computer when the best choice was a mainframe filling a room. He and technical genius Steve Wozniak then began to introduce the world to real personal computers. Nothing has remained the same since since the Steves showed the world what innovation really means. From Macintosh to iMacs to iPods to iPads to Apple Pay, our lives have improved dramatically every few years since the name Steve Jobs became popular. And from a humble, greatful Apple fan, the world thanks you for aiming so high, most people laughed in disbelief.
4. GEORGE WASHINGTON — While only 20 years old and then a British officer, George was the only officer to survive a 1752 ambush in the Pennsylvannia woods. George had his horse shot out from under him by French and Indian soliders hiding behind trees while the British troops marched into battle in a straight line — just inviting their demise. George’s coat hangs in a New York museum today with several bullet holes that pierced the jacket during battle. George later wrote a letter to his family stating that he was blessed to have survived the British slaughter that day. Twenty years later and before the 1776 American Revolution, an old Indian chief heard George Washington was back in the area and rode a long way to meet him. The chief told Washington that all the Indian braves fired with great accuracy that day and killed officers first. But even from close range, the Indian chief said Washingon was protected by God on that day. The chiefed realized then and told his braves to stop shooting at the “man who could not be killed in battle.”
3. ABRAHAM LINCOLN — A second great U.S. president? Really? Yes. He was virtually God’s chosen child to work the magic he did to pull the states back to being united once more. The story I’ve read on Abe’s birth indicates he was destined for greatness from the moment he was born — despite never attending school and growing up poor and with much failure in his life. As the story goes, the president’s mother was in labor during a powerful winter blizzard. The father left to find a midwife who could help with the safe delivery of the baby. He was gone for hours, but apparently never found the midwife. However while he was gone, a knock came on the Lincoln home door. A young midwife appeared and safely delivered Mrs. Lincoln’s baby. Story has it that the midwife asked Mrs. Lincoln only one favor when the new mother expressed her gratitude for the timely delivery. She asked that the young man be named Abraham. The tale, which history will no doubt dispute, exemplifies the miracle required to simply start life on this planet.
2. BRUCE LEE — If you have not noticed, Bruce has been at the top of my list of most admired people. He got beat in a fight when he was young. Determined to never lose again, Bruce focused his vast energies on taking lessons and working his thin, meager frame into the strong, lean, flexible form we have seen in books and on fitness products for decades. Beyond his fitness leadership as an early weight room adopter, which drew the admiration of the best bodybuilder Arnold Schwartzenegger and millions of others, Bruce was an even better maritial artist, learning from boxing, fencing, wrestling and dozens of forms of hand-to-hand combat. Better still, Bruce learned and shared in his books and interviews the philosphies that still change the word today with riveting states like: Live a life worth remembering. He did that in every conceivable way from my perspective.
1. JESUS CHRIST — History teaches us that Jesus healed the lame, ill and blind. He raised the dead and walked on water. He showed thousands what God had in mind for his people. Any questions?