Ray Lewis Motivational Speech Transcript
Transcript of football player Ray Lewis’ motivational speech.
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Ray Lewis: (00:06)
Today, I wanted to just really hit on something, dealing with pain. I asked my mom one day, I said, “Ma,” I said, “Would you buy me a deck of cards?” She said “Junior, I don’t gamble in my house. Ain’t no cards coming on my house.” I said, “Mom, I don’t need them for gambling. I don’t want them for gambling I just need a deck of cards, Mom.”
Ray Lewis: (00:41)
My mom, for years, from the time I was four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, I never saw a woman take so much physical abuse than the way I’ve seen my mother beaten every freaking day of my life. But I can’t help her because I’m not strong enough. I don’t have the muscle to get these men off my mother.
Ray Lewis: (01:21)
My mother’s a very high-yellow woman, and every time they hit her, she would bleed from her eyes. She would walk around for days with sunglasses on in the house. I said, “Ma, I need a deck of cards.”
Ray Lewis: (01:38)
Last altercation we got in, my stepfather hit my mama so hard in the face, I caught him and I looked at him with this rage and this pain in my eyes, like, “One day, one day.” And I took this deck of cards, and I couldn’t live in the house so I had to live in the garage, and after this last altercation we had with this guy, I ran to my garage and I grabbed this deck of cards, and I flipped a seven, and I started doing seven pushups.
Ray Lewis: (02:14)
I flipped a six, I did six. I flipped a nine, I did nine. I flipped a two, I did two. I flipped another nine, I did nine, until I got all the way through the deck, Jack, Queen, King, worth 10. Ace is 25 and Joker’s 50. Until I got sick and tired of what pain felt like in my gut. It didn’t even matter to me no more because I started shuffling them all over again, and that’s when I started doing my sit ups.
Ray Lewis: (02:40)
Because I wanted to make sure sports wasn’t the reason why I started training. It was to make sure a man never put his hands on my mama again. And I told my mama, “No pain will ever stop me from taking care of you and my brothers and sisters.”
Ray Lewis: (03:01)
That’s why I started doing what I started. Sports was a byproduct of what people started to see. It was the behind-the-scenes that was driving me crazy. There’s two sides to pain that I don’t think a lot of people really understand.
Ray Lewis: (03:31)
There is one side of pain that’s the suffering and the discomfort side of pain, but then there’s another side of pain that’s called effort. It’s called glory. It’s called if you can find a way to push through pain, there’s something greater on the other side of it. And if you never tap into it, it’s because the first time you felt it, you backed off. The first time you felt that burn, that first time you felt that … It’s too much, and we rationalize with ourselves to where we automatically stop.
Ray Lewis: (04:08)
That’s why a bunch of us give up in life so quickly. That’s why kids have a problem finishing things in today’s time, because soon as they feel a small bit of discomfort or things ain’t right, oh, they gone. “I can’t do it no more.”
Ray Lewis: (04:29)
But, supposed I told you the greatest pain of my life is the reason I’m standing here today.
Ray Lewis: (04:40)
I dare you to take a little pain. Go through it. You’re not going to die because you’re feeling a little pain. You ain’t going to die. At the end of pain is success. Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day, or even a year, but eventually, it will subside, and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever.
Ray Lewis: (05:25)
On the other side of that pain, on the other side of that pain, on the other side of that pain is your promise.
Ray Lewis: (05:39)
At 10 years old, I picked up these deck of cards, and one day, I counted them and I found out there was 52 of them in the deck of cards. 52. And I turned my greatest pain into my business, with the greatest achievement ever is the touching a Lombardi trophy. 52 cards. And ironically, my number end up being 52.
Ray Lewis: (06:15)
There’s not a person on my team in 16 years that has consistently beat me to the ball every play. That ain’t got nothing to do with talent. That’s just got everything to do with effort. And nothing else. 15 straight years. 12 Pro Bowls later, if you want numbers, I don’t saw all of it, and the only thing that’s kept me around is my effort.
Ray Lewis: (06:48)
So, when you put on this, all I ever knew because I wasn’t the number one recruit, I wasn’t the number one linebacker, I wasn’t even number one media guy, all I ever knew was effort would get me seen on tape. Effort will get me noticed to get to the league. Effort would one day take care of my mom and my kids. Effort, which is between you and you. Nobody else can give you effort.
Ray Lewis: (07:20)
Effort is what’s inside, man. And I’m still grinding because the next critic is talking about, “He getting too old.” Keep watching me if I am! Nobody ain’t got to convince me of what I do. I do what I do because I do what I do, because I’m built from something, and man didn’t create it.
Ray Lewis: (07:42)
Every one of you men in here have that opportunity, man, but ask yourself the question personally, how much time you really waste? For real. Or do you really represent this? I represented because it’s all I had. It’s the only brotherhood I ever been formed to. That’s why, when I see y’all perform on Saturdays, that is my peace. That’s why I run to the hotels. I don’t need to talk to nobody before my games. I just need to see what I once came from.
Ray Lewis: (08:14)
I sat in the same chairs you guys sat in, man. I sat around the greatest athletes in the world, and then I found myself totally different because everybody was asking the question, “Who is this kid?” I’m just sharing my story to tell y’all, every time you think somebody got it good, man, it ain’t always good.
Ray Lewis: (08:37)
Some people just make up their mind, and they just grind and say, “To heck with it, man.” Because sometimes, that’s all you can do. How much of our brains are we really going to use? I use mine to tell somebody today, September 11th, when I step on the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers, if that’s what God’s will is, there’s no other man out there willing to give up what I’m willing to give up. I said that in 1993 when I said I wanted to be the greatest Hurricane, and the only thing that I got in the middle of all of that distance is the only thing that follows work: It’s results.
Ray Lewis: (09:19)
There is no other blue print. I ain’t got no other secrets to tell y’all today. I ain’t come here for nothing else but to tell you if you want to do something, work at it. If you want a better relationship with God, work at it. If you want to understand why pulling your pants up is important, why yes ma’am and no ma’am is important, why being in the meetings with complete silence when somebody walks in because it’s presence and essence that determines respect.
Ray Lewis: (09:49)
It’s all we talking about. The power respect is never to disrespect. That’s why I was the first one sitting down in the meeting, “Oh, I ain’t got nothing to say. Y’all do y’all good. I got to listen. Something out there I need to grab from it.” Sitting on the same football field as you am, in 1993.
Ray Lewis: (10:11)
And I made a quote, and some people call it controversial. I call it confidence. I said that I might be the greatest player to walk up out of University of Miami. I did not say that because I thought I was better than everybody else. I said that simply because I was willing to put in the work to now be back here 18 years later and tell you the only brotherhood I still have.
Ray Lewis: (10:48)
You’ve got to say yes to your life. You’ve got to say yes. “Yes to my dreams. Yes to me. Yes. I can make it. Yes, I can. Doesn’t matter how many failures I’ve made. Doesn’t matter how many mistakes I’ve endured. Doesn’t matter about my defeats. Doesn’t matter about what I’ve done.”
Ray Lewis: (11:18)
Sits on my chest in a shirt form, but that real Hurricane is found in my heart, because this where it all came from. Same path y’all walk. Same cafs y’all going in. Same Greentree y’all walking up and down. I mean, I had one pair of jeans in college for at least two years. At least two years.
Ray Lewis: (11:44)
What drives you? Because I feel home. And when you home, ain’t much to say. Our work spoke for itself. That’s where our swagger came from. Our swagger came from, we worked as a unit. When I came to the University of Miami, there was one mind, one set, one heartbeat. It was impossible to get to us because if you saw us somewhere, you saw 15 or 20 of us. Got to stop leaving each other. Got to stop hanging out without each other. The streets ain’t chasing the same things you chasing.
Ray Lewis: (12:27)
There’s many temptations out there. Just stay focused, man, as a team, though. As a team. That’s all I knew when I was here. That’s what kind of kept me focus, that I finally ran into a team, and you guys have that same thing. Because this you, this you will never die. It will never die, so it’s up to you to carry that. It’s up to you to carry that every Sunday, every Saturday, everything gets talked about.
Ray Lewis: (12:58)
I got to commit my very being to this thing. I got to breathe it. I got to eat it. I got to sleep it. And until you get there, you will never be successful in life, but once you get there, I guarantee you, the world is yours.
Ray Lewis: (13:12)
You [inaudible 00:13:13] yesterday? Know what you carry when you carry this U on your chest. Know what you carry, man. You carry a legacy. A legacy of greatness. And greatness is a lot of small things done well, day after day, workout after workout, obedience after obedience. Day after day.