Jared Felkins: The Rock shares words of inspiration on eve of birthday

Editor’s Note: This column is an adaptation from previous columns written in 2008 and again in 2011, both published in the Times-Journal in Fort Payne, Ala.
Mar 1, 2014

“And the last thing he said to me, ‘Rock,’ he said, ‘sometime, when the team is up against it and the breaks are beating the boys tell them to go out there with all they got and win just one for the Gipper. I don’t know where I’ll be then, Rock,’ he said, ‘but I’ll know about it and I’ll be happy.’”

The immortal words of the great Notre Dame coach Knute Rockne still have meaning today. It’s all about going up against all odds and finding a way to win.

Rockne has long since passed, but his legacy lives on for each and every player who straps on the gold helmet, comes out of the tunnel facing Touchdown Jesus and has the Gipper in the back of his mind.

Actually and despite my obsession with the Crimson Tide and Paul “Bear” Bryant, I have a common bond with Rockne – Tuesday is our birthday. I turn 38. The Rock would have been 126.

Rockne is on a short list of football coaches like Bryant, Vince Lombardi and Eddie Robinson who are frequently quoted both on and off the field. He invented the forward pass for crying out loud. The Rock’s Gipper speech was probably the most well known.

While I often wonder if my life and the things I say – better yet write – will be chronicled for generations to read and inspire, it’s certainly something to which I can aspire.

So as I near 38 years old, Rockne’s famous speech offers inspiration. It gives us all reason to go out there and win one for the Gipper.

Gipp supposedly gave his quote from his deathbed in 1920. Rockne used his story to rally his team to defeat the 1928 undefeated Army team at Yankee Stadium.

The words were since used by presidents, leaders and many who just need or must give some encouragement.

For me, my Gipper is the Lord. Tuesday will give me the opportunity to reflect back on my 38 years on this earth and just how blessed I am. Sure, there are challenges, but my goal is to win one for the Gipper.

And if I strive to win one every day – whether I accomplish it or not – I know it’s never in vain.

You know, that Rockne was a pretty good wordsmith. But I can think of another timeless quote that may be more appropriate as I look forward to another great 38 years and hopefully beyond.

It’s found in Philippians 4:13. Give it a read sometime.

Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins. 


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