By Maureen Cromer
SEVERN – “Never let people tell you that you can’t do something.”
That was one lesson the students at Archbishop Spalding High School took home with them this week from legendary Notre Dame football coach, Lou Holtz.
Spalding, in partnership with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, invited Holtz to speak about motivation, leadership and the use of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. Students from 10 schools, including Mount St. Joseph in Irvington and Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, gathered at Spalding March 14 for the presentation.
“I’ve been 18,” Holtz said at the outset of his talk. “You’ve never been 79, so you all better listen up.”
Holtz, who shared personal stories and magic tricks with the students throughout the hour-long presentation, said he assumed six things about each of them: they want to be good students; they want to lead a good life; they want to feel needed; they want to feel secure in their future; they want to go to heaven; and they want to keep growing.
Holtz paused and looked into the crowd.
“Growing up, I never had any goals or dreams or ambition,” he said, “but that’s what life is all about. It took me a long time to figure out what price I was willing to pay for what I wanted to accomplish.”
There will always be sacrifices that must be made, Holtz said. There will always be skills to acquire. And there will always be problems and obstacles to be overcome.
“In life, you have two choices,” Holtz said, “you can pick yourself up or stay down. But you can’t ever count on anybody else to pick you up.”
Holtz said there are three rules to guarantee attaining the goals of the assumptions he outlined at the beginning of the talk: do the right thing; be the very best you can be with the time you have been allotted; and show people you care.
“Not everyone can be an all-American,” Holtz said, “not everyone can be first-team, but everyone can be the best they can be.”
As Holtz began walking back to his chair, he turned to the students and said, “Do you want to be happy for one hour? Eat a steak. Do you want to be happy for one day? Play golf. Do you want to be happy for one month? Buy a new car. Do you want to be happy for a year? Win the lottery. But if you want to be happy for the rest of your life, follow those three rules. You’ll make a difference in people’s lives, including your own.”