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Max Out Your Potential – Stories From 5 Sports Legends We Can Learn From

By Mark Farrelly
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Good evening Ireland, and that’s an order. Jameson and Balls.ie have teamed up in pursuit of a great night out. So if you have no plans, read on…

There is potential in the air for a great night and to inspire you all to reach that potential we wanted to bring you a list of those that did, that reached the top of their game. Take it all in and get on going out.

Gary Neville – The 6/10 man

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville once said that '6/10' would be written on his headstone, given that seemed to be the match rating he was given every week during his long career. As part of the famous Class of 92, Neville never possessed the technique of his peers but he made up for it in sheer determination and hard work.

6/10 of was he not. His manager Alex Ferguson said of him:

Gary was the best English right-back of his generation. He is an example to any young professional; hard-working, loyal and intelligent.

A much better player than people gave him credit for, Neville retired after 19 years at the club with eight Premier League medals, three FA Cups and two Champions League titles. It's fair to say he definitely fulfilled his potential. And what better inspiration do you need to get going out tonight and to realise your own potential.

Páidí Ó Sé – An un-natural spirit

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The late, great Páidí Ó Sé is remembered as one of the best Kerry players of all time. The brilliantly made TG4 documentary, Rí an Pharóiste, gave a great insight into what made the legend tick. From the tales of how he would go running a month in advance of county training so he'd get the jump on Mick O'Dwyer to the pride he brought to his local parish, Ó Sé typified the character of many a great GAA player.

His friend Micheál Ó Sé describes him best:

The ferocity he had – and you'll find it in every great player – was a controlled ferocity. He kept it on a leash. If you don't have the fierceness you won't have had the potential he had.

Because Páidí had enormous potential. Imagine that someone could play with such tremendous defence for their county as Páidí did always.

Truly one of the greats. A man who worked hard and played hard. Mick O'Dwyer fondly remembers O'Shea's love for hard work of the field but his equal love for the craic after it. You've worked hard, right? You deserve to explore the potential of the craic too!

Kurt Warner – Towels are for sweat, not for throwing in

In 1994 Kurt Warner seemed to have lost his dream of becoming an NFL quarterback. After going undrafted, he attended the Green Bay Packers training camp but was released before start of the season. He knew his potential and wasn't going to give up with sweating out every last bit of it.


Warner  then spent his nights in Cedar Falls stacking shelves in a local grocery store while he played Arena Football League with Iowa Barnstormers. Eventually in 1998 he signed for the St Louis Rams but was allocated to the Amsterdam Admirals. After a hugely impressive season and an injury to the Rams' new QB Trent Green, Warner got his chance. He would go on to become a Super Bowl MVP and is widely regarded as the greatest undrafted player in NFL history.



It's time to ignore the naysayers; the 'I want a duvet nighters'; the 'I think I'll just stay in and order a takeawayers'. It's time to seek out the Kurt Warner types who are open to exploring the possibilities of what life, and tonight in particular, might bring them.


Brian O'Driscoll – The dormant colossus

We know him as probably the greatest Northern Hemisphere player of all time but during his early days at Blackrock College, a young Brian O'Driscoll struggled to get into his junior school team. His former teacher Fr Joe Gough, wrote this about the centre, in the Herald:

Brian O'Driscoll, on the other hand, is probably, and somewhat wryly, remembered more for what didn't happen rather than for what did. Size and injury were factors.

In fact, Gough goes on to explain that O'Driscoll didn't make the Junior Cup team due to his smallish frame. That being said, glimpses of a legend in the making began to flicker every so often:

His bravery in the tackle was evident even then when he broke his collarbone tackling Bob Casey and missed the first-half of JCT year.

He did make the subs' bench, however, and, on one famous occasion, he gave real evidence of what lay ahead ... Picking the ball from the base of a scrum Brian careered off on a series of dummy switches, which finished with him crossing in the corner for a spectacular try.

The rest is history.

Like BOD's unexpected rise to the top, I think we've all got some great stories about the random nights that just took off out of nowhere. You started meeting up with a friend at 5pm and next thing you know it's the following morning and you've just had the night out of the year. In every breath there is unbounded potential.

Kobe Bryant – Relentless work ethic

How does one get to the top of their sport? Indeed how does one get to the top in any walk of life? Talent? Yes, talent can help. Luck? Yes, luck can play a part. However, when you ask any top player; when you look under the bonnet; it comes down to one word really – 'work.'

Kobe Bryant works. Ever since day one, it was his graft that most impressed. Indeed it was the reason the Lakers general manager Jerry West decided to take him in a trade in 1996:

What’s most impressive about this young man are his desire, his work ethic, his competitive nature. [Bryant] comes to the arena at 4:30, before anybody is here, and works on his game alone. He has incredible skills and the desire to be a great player.

And it's not him who says it:


That's Kobe Bryant, where concentration, competition and the knowledge of his own potential led him to greatness. Potential, it's in us all, just a matter of unlocking it!

Off out this weekend? With Jameson you'll be sure to have the potential for a weekend worth remembering . Enjoy Jameson sensibly, visit drinkaware.ie

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