The Road Ahead or The Road Behind / by James Leath

I first heard this poem on a TedTalk by John Wooden in 2001.

The Road Ahead or the Road Behind

Sometimes I think the fates must grin as we denounce them and insist,
The only reason we can’t win is the fates themselves have missed.
Yet, there lives on the ancient claim – we win or lose within ourselves,
The shining trophies on our shelves can never win tomorrow’s game.

So you and I know deeper down there is a chance to win the crown,
But when we fail to give our best, we simply haven’t met the test
Of giving all and saving none until the game is really won.
Of showing what is meant by grit, of fighting on when others quit,

Of playing through not letting up, it’s bearing down that wins the cup.
Of taking it and taking more until we gain the winning score,
Of dreaming there’s a goal ahead, of hoping when our dreams are dead,
Of praying when our hopes have fled.

Yet, losing, not afraid to fall,If bravely we have given all, for who can ask more of a man than giving all, it seems to me, is not so far, from – Victory.
And so the fates are seldom wrong, no matter how they twist and wind, It’s you and I who make our fates, we open up or close the gates, On the Road Ahead or the Road Behind.

George Joseph Moriarty