Cycling & Encouragement
71“All of us lack emotional support.” Anton Villatoro, Olympian and Pro Cyclist, on the dearth of encouragement in pro cycling
There was this superstar athlete from another sport whom the American public could not get enough of at his high point. Taking his talent for granted, I was astonished when I heard him interviewed once about his secret to success. The truth was that in college he was an average performer. When he turned pro, he gained incrementally. It wasn’t until the right ingredients gelled that he started helping his team to win important contests consistently. He was a clutch player who propelled himself, his team, his city, and the league to mega-media proportions.
Yes, he worked harder and his multidisciplinary approach from off-season to the playoffs was measurably more difficult than his peers. Yet he credited his ability to work harder and smarter to his “elements” being in place. These elements consisted mainly of people – a gathering of intimate allies who supported him consistently. His posse included his father, trusted coaches and advisors, a sacrificial spouse, and a teammate or two who wanted it as badly as he did but who cared about how they got it and about each other. Another element was stability. He had the financial resources to create a base camp – a true home of unconditional refuge where he could refuel.
My surprise was at the admittedly touchy-feely nature of his success secret. What he was describing was emotional support via encouragement, our last course to be fueled like a Ferrari, the dessert of our disciplined diets.
Prayer for Encouragement
“The lips of the righteous nourish many…” 72Proverbs 10:21
We are thankful for the people in our lives who feed us with truth and grace and believe in us. We confess we spend more energy fixing food than in cultivating a constituency. We ask for strong and loving supporters, carefully selected in our inner circles, in whom we can confide, rely, and always call for a reminder that we’re worthy. We ask that we attract this support by being encouragers ourselves.
Ponder Who are my encouragers? Whom do I nourish with my words? Affirm I can be a superstar for my selected loving audience. Watch the fortifying ingredient of encouragement feed your souls, making you capable of abundantly more than you imagined.
71Conversations with Anton Villatoro, whose dual citizenship afforded him the opportunity to ride for Guatemala in several Olympics. He also was a member of US Postal professional cycling team. Villatoro means the Town Bull. One of his stubborn efforts while “training” in a local race in Colorado was a spectacular solo bridge to a gap. His quiet determination while suffering through challenging circumstances has impressed me many times.
72The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society