Bolt's lesson: Never question your self-belief

Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Dear Editor,

In recent weeks Jamaicans have been forced to face a particular headline that, most may never have been prepared for. What is that you may ask?

At a time when we have been beaten up almost daily by news of corruption, death and destruction in our midst, news pertaining to Usain Bolt on his football adventure has occupied not only the Jamaican media, but across the entire social and sporting world.

Bolt, throughout most of his athletics career, had expressed a desire to don football gear and to run out on the rectangular pitch as a professional player. For those of us following his athletics career, his love for Manchester United has been no secret. He boldly stated his desire to don the club's colours, but accepted that desire alone would not do this, but that such a desire had to be supported by sweat equity.

Of course, most track fans treated his expression as a joke, worse, the football fans.

Usain Bolt distinguished himself on the track. In fact, Jamaican Usain Bolt is the pre-eminent global track athlete of the century. To most, he has nothing else to prove as he has left it all on the best running tracks across the globe.

To many, his current age of 32 is the point at which most football players are walking away from the game, not beginning a football career.

Many so-called experts have met Bolt's expressed desire with derision, offering advice that he will ruin his reputation, damage his name, and even more so, his brand. In the course of proffering liberal amounts of criticisms, most have lost the plot.

A few years ago the Government of Jamaica conferred on Usain Bolt the Order of Jamaica, the nation's fourth-highest honour. The value of this may, perhaps, be lost on most. Bolt not only represents the best of Jamaica in terms of his visibility and his accomplishments. He represents the ethos of what being Jamaican should mean to every single one of us. That ethos is our work ethic.

At a time when too many Jamaicans are struggling just to taste an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, if given the lightest chance, Bolt, by his determination, is redefining that spirit.

True, that he does not need to, because it cannot be about money. Bolt's current and future earnings are more than secured. What it is, is the desire to prove that if you believe that you can, what is there to stop you but your own belief in the strength and foundation of your belief in yourself.

As we close the celebrations on the 2018 national heroes awards and celebrations, I believe that this should be an object lesson for Jamaicans everywhere, and there is none better to teach this than our own living hero, Usain St Leo Bolt.

Richard Hugh Blackford

Lauderhill, Florida, USA

richardhblackford@gmail.com

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