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Comeback Player of the Year

Thursday, January 23, 2020

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"Today, I will do what others won’t so that tomorrow, I can do what __others can’t.” – Andy Ogletree

Andy Ogletree is an amateur golfer from Little Rock, Mississippi. Actually, since Little Rock isn’t incorporated, he really hails from Union, MS, a town that covers less than four square miles and boasts just 1,988 people.

Somehow, someway, this nondescript Southern town – with a median household income of less than $30,000 – produced the winner of the 2019 U.S. Amateur golf championship. And right there, in today’s quote, you have the secret of Andy Ogletree’s success. Simply put, he outworked… and continues to outwork… his competition.

I might add a second important ingredient to Ogletree’s recipe for success: he refuses to give up, no matter the odds. In the finals of the aforementioned tournament, Andy fell behind John Augenstein right from the start. In fact, after the first five holes he was already down by four. Many golfers would have been tempted to “throw in the towel” at that point, but Andy refused to be discouraged and just kept plodding along. After 35 holes, he was declared the winner, 2 and 1.

Andy Ogletree reminds me of my friend, Steve Mix. A two-time All-American basketball player at the University of Toledo, Steve was selected in the fifth round of the 1969 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. After two subpar seasons in Detroit, he was waived by the Pistons. With few options, Mix signed with the Denver Rockets of the ABA, playing a single game and scoring a grand total of two points.

The following year he tried out with the Philadelphia 76’ers, who went on to post the worst record in NBA history that season. And yet, Steve was considered not talented enough to make that historically bad team. And so, he signed with the Grand Rapids Tackers of the Continental Basketball Association in a last-ditch effort to revive his failing career.

Guess what? It worked! Steve averaged more than 31 points per game that season, earning him another tryout with the Sixers. This time he made the squad and was named Comeback Player of the Year in 1974 and an NBA All-Star in 1975.

Steve spoke at one of our Living H2O Initiatives a while back and shared the secret of his success with the young men there. “Every day, try to do one thing that will make you better.”

That sounds like good advice to me, whether you are talking basketball, business, or spiritual maturity.

“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’” Luke 9:23 (NKJV)

- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President

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