By John Ed Mathison
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries
One of the most incredible sports stories occurred 30 years ago in the state of Alabama at Troy University. This 30-year anniversary will be celebrated at Troy by the young men and their families who participated on the 1987 championship baseball team. Let me tell you about Warren Arrington, a young man who played a significant part in making that championship possible.
In the 1980’s, I went each week to Jeff Davis High School here in Montgomery to meet with different athletic teams and speak to them. It was a rich experience for me. For about 10 years I witnessed some state championships.
One of those outstanding athletes was a football and baseball player named Warren Arrington. He had great athletic skill and a great attitude about life. Warren went to Troy University on a baseball scholarship.
In 1987, Troy was in a one-game playoff to determine who from their conference would advance to the college playoffs. Troy was trailing by 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning with 2 outs.
Warren Arrington was the batter. He hit a routine grounder to the 3rd baseman who could throw it to 1st and Troy’s season would be over. But Warren was fast and ran as hard as he had ever run to 1stbase. The 1st baseman juggled the catch, and Warren was safe. Instead of being the end of the game and season, Troy had new life! With 2 outs, the next 3 batters got base hits. Troy scored 3 runs and won the conference title!
This sent them to the regional playoffs where they won and then went to the national championship game at Patterson Field in Montgomery. Troy won, and they were crowned national champions. It’s so important to never give up!
It all goes back to that one play, 2 outs, trailing by 2 runs, and most players would have run routinely to 1st base ending the game. But Warren’s “never quit” attitude was that he still had a chance – and he made good on that opportunity. Because of that, Troy has a national championship, and Warren was named an All-American. As the old saying goes, “Winners never quit and quitters never win!”
The current baseball coach, Mark Smart, played 2nd base on that championship team. Recently I was speaking to 400 baseball coaches at their annual convention in Birmingham, and I didn’t know Coach Smart was there. He was pleasantly surprised when I used this illustration in my talk on never giving up.
I talked with Warren Arrington recently, and I asked him about that historic moment. He said he was always coached to “never give up.” He said, “You have to give it all you’ve got until it’s over.” That’s a great attitude toward life. That attitude helped produce a national championship and a championship life!
Never quit! Don’t include the word quit in your vocabulary. I like what someone said about Napoleon – “He didn’t know the word quit – he didn’t know English!
Never quit! “Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit” (Psalm 27:14 MSG). “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate . . . the reward is life and more life” (James 1:12 MSG). “Staying with it – that’s what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be saved” (Luke 21:19 MSG).
What is your QQ – Quit Quotient?
John Ed’s blog posts appear in For His Glory each week.1
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