Helen Keller’s journal writings from eighty years ago are the surprising motivation for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football players of today.
Keller, who you may best remember from a series of tacky jokes told when you were a child, was an American activist and the first blind-deaf person to receive a bachelor of arts degree.
By her mid-fifties, Keller had fought for women’s suffrage, helped create the ACLU and befriended presidents, patent owners and Charlie Chaplin. In her journal, she wrote sometime between 1936 and 1937:
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”
Today, rising junior cornerback Ashton White tweeted a picture of a dozen shirtless football players. One of them - it appears to be rising sophomore Donte Vaughn - is holding Keller’s quote.
Keller died 50 years ago and her work is still inspiring young men to give it their all in the weight room. I wish she were alive, so that I could talk to her about her wisdom being considered on par with “Look in the mirror. That’s your competition” and being hashtagged with “Savage Mode.”