Work hard, follow your dreams

By Jazzy Davenport

Sports have the ability to bring out every known emotion in its purest form. Because of the passion required, sports will make you laugh, cry, cheer and get depressed, and  simply because of being a fan. Athletes have it worse.

I was inspired on April 21, as I watched clips of two South Side Chicago natives, both at the top of their respective “game,” come together to inspire children and be real-life examples of what can happen when you stay focused and believe in your dreams. I was moved to tears. Those two trailblazers were U.S. first lady Michelle Obama and two-time Olympic speed skating champion Shani Davis.

After meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House, Davis accompanied Michelle to a D.C. elementary school to promote the importance of fitness, which correlates with the Let’s Move campaign, an effort to decrease childhood obesity. While at the school, Davis also expressed the importance of dedication to the children. Obama and Davis enforced “staying healthy and achieving goals no matter how big or different you are,” advice I believe people of all ages can benefit from.

The two, more than many others, can effectively promote this message because of their origins. As Obama pointed out for Chicago’s South Side natives, speed skating is not something often talked about. The ratio of basketball courts, football or baseball fields to speed skating rinks does not begin to compare. It obviously took a lot of hard work and determination for Davis, 27, who comes from a community where speed skating is underrepresented,to  become the first African-American to win a gold medal in an individual game sport in the Winter Olympics.

And by now we all know the story of the Obamas, people of African descent working hard to achieve the highest office in the land, which had never been done before and which many thought could never be accomplished. These stories are an inspiration,  not just to African-Americans like myself, but to everyone.

The main message Obama, Davis and other Olympians tried to convey was for everyone to believe enough in themselves and their dreams to work hard. But most importantly, not to let statistics or naysayers defeat you because of image or their own personal issues. This message is not limited to the elementary children who witnessed the two historic figures last week, it is for everyone of every age, every size and every color, no matter what individual passions or talents you may possess.