By Shaun Fuentes
Have you ever seriously thought about what inspires you, your peers or some of the athletes that soar to great heights?

We are accustomed with hearing persons talk about being inspired by many different things. But what is inspiration? The basic description has it as  feeling that strikes when you are moved to action by something you are passionate about. Inspiration can lead you to take a chance and achieve something great. But to get something done that may turn out to be great one must take action and inturn that action must be motivated by something.

Not every time motivations are truly inspiring. One might decide to work out really hard in the gym two months before Carnival because they simply have to. A batsman may spend countless hours in the nets because he has no other choice as his averages aren’t good enough to make the cut. Students may study for exams simply to avoid negative consequences.

Inspiration is something that motivates you to do better. So at this current time the members of the West Indies cricket team may be aiming to do better than the previous series against New Zealand or the current T&T footballers may be in search of better results than the previous four years.  Different things inspire different people and while there’s so much inspiration around us it yet appears that we are always searching for such. It is therefore important that we begin to highlight things that inspire us as opposed to the things that might be destroying us either as a country, team, organization or  sole athlete.

It would be wise for groups of persons to actually sit and discuss what would inspire them to adopt an approach that will bring some level of success or perhaps recovery to a failed situation. With regard to sport, aside from wanting to win matches and medals, the spirit of sport is important where it entails the perseverance and drive, hardwork and desire to compete, to be your best, or to even practice being better.

Some people are inspired simply by those who smile at strangers or offer some form of pleasantry. Others are inspired by teachers or the feeling they get when they are able to help others learn.

I do some of my best thinking when I can’t sleep at 3 am or when I’m away from my computer in those quiet moments. I sometimes practically “write” an entire piece in my head before I actually sit down to type it out. During that process I am inspired.

There must have been something over the period of the past twenty years that inspires me to continue working in football and those reasons could maybe take an entire book to fully explain. But generally the belief that more can be done, should be done and that the country’s people deserves to always have the sport  as something that inspires them to achieve greater things on and off the football pitch is a major motivating factor here for me.

Consider the challenges athletes face. To simply attend practice, local footballers living in the south region leave home at 430am in order to reach into Port of Spain an hour before a 9 o’clock start at least four days per week.  And this is before they have even been guaranteed selection to represent the country. Of course there are also people in the working sector that face similar situations simply because our road traffic is horrendous, our roads are more demotivating in the pursuit of success and our traffic systems are still stuck in the 80s.

Persons have to cope with exhausting schedules, defeats, injuries, missed milestones, heartbreaking failures, and personal adversity.

I will leave you with the story of Hawaiian surfer Bethany Hamilton. In 2003 a shark bit off her left arm. As she recovered, she made two promises to herself. The first was that she would not moan about her terrible misfortune and the second was that she would get back on the surfboard. After only 26 days, she was surfing again! She went on to be ranked among the top 50 female surfers in the world, overcoming many obstacles before becoming successful as a one-armed surfer.
There were many moments of sheer frustration when adjusting to her disability. She now dedicates much of her life to being a role model for young amputees and has since become an inspiration for many girls going through amputation and adolescence through her Friends of Bethany charity. Her form of inspiration is just one of many. It’s all around us.
Shaun Fuentes has worked for FIFA and CONCACAF as a media operations manager since 2009, most notably at the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa.