Did the crowd like to see this, or did they only applaud the winners?
Well, at the end of the 1973 season, the fans at Johnny’s home track, the Eau Gallie Speedway in Melbourne, FL, voted to award him the Orlando Sentinel’s Sportsmanship Award – one of the highest honors at the speedway.
Johnny did not need to win a championship in order to inspire people.
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Like him, you can inspire people, simply by doing the following:
• Being in good shape, having plenty of energy and being in good health.
• Accepting compliments graciously.
• Encouraging others to strive to do their best and always doing your best.
• Respecting your teammates, your opponents, your fans and everyone else with whom you come into contact.
• Doing what is necessary to get people involved – like the way Muhammad Ali got people excited about boxing – as long as you do it with respect and love.
Share your success with others
With all of the athletes today who sell their services to corporate sponsors and then use every opportunity to promote the sponsor’s product, it was really nice to see what 24-year-old stock car racer Jeff Gordon did when he won the 1995 NASCAR Cup Championship.
In the final race of the season at Atlanta, GA, in November, Dale Earnhart won the race, but Gordon finished high enough to take the championship.
When he was parked in the pits, he climbed through the window, sat on the roof of the car, then lifted a 7-year-old girl up from the crowds of people in the pits and held her in his lap.
With 50,000 people in the stands watching and listening to him, along with a television audience of millions, he faced the cameras and microphones.
“This was just a spectacular day,” he gushed. “I know my race car wasn’t much today, but it’s been a heck of a year. But before I get into that,” he said, interrupting himself and turning to the girl he was holding on his lap, “this is Jeriana, and she’s got leukemia.”
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