“In the moments when we shine, we are all the greatest.” ~ Mike Smith
It was a statement that came almost a year ago – to the day – from the newly titled Triple Crown winning jockey, Mike Smith. When he spoke those words they pierced my skin and stuck in my heart, often replaying time and time again. It was so powerful, so wise, so humble – like the man who spoke them.
It was a statement that put us all on a level playing field. It reminded me that no matter what our cause or our passion, when we achieve success we all have the capability to be the greatest. It reminded me that opportunity does not discriminate, but dedication and hard work do; it reminded me that opportunity is available to all, but it is the dedication and hard work that sets us apart.
Mike Smith, in a sport filled with jockeys, shines above the rest. Not because of luck or divine intervention. Not because of opportunity or advantage. But because of true dedication, resolute perseverance, never-ending learning, unwavering vision, consistent execution, and because of good, old-fashioned, hard work.
And because of fifty two years of never giving in or giving up on the one thing that sets his heart on fire.
And though we all have the opportunity to be the greatest in the moments when we shine, when Mike and Justify crossed the finish line as the thirteenth Triple Crown winners, it wasn’t just a great moment. It was a moment when, because of his accomplishments and his commitment, his wisdom, compassion, faith, humility and dedication that Mike Smith wasn’t just among the greats – he became the greatest.
Photo of Mike Smith by the talented Alex Evers of Eclipse Sportswire