Shane Ray and Making it Out of the Murder Factory

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Elite trainers in boxing have a view on success that is pretty different than the way most people, but transcends all sports barriers, not just boxing. It is said that in order to be great or accomplish any incredible task in life, an individual must have faced a challenge or encountered opposition in their life that has molded them into someone that has a never ending desire to succeed because of that challenge or opposition they once faced.  Shane Ray, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos is not a boxer, but has been in a fights his entire life.

Shane Ray grew up on Kansas City, Missouri in an area nicknamed “the Murder Factory”.  His mother got a divorce when he was young, so he never had his father in his life. He had no home and was forced to live with relatives while his mother worked two jobs to put food on the table for him.  Because football was too expensive to play, he was forced to quit in 5th grade and had no way to get out his anger, so he fought. His anger due to the his living arrangements and lack of a father figure came to a boiling point when he was 13 and his cousin was shot in a robbery gone wrong. His world was crushed and he turned to the streets and fighting to help him cope.

His family loved him so much that his mother decided to work another job and put her son through a private education so that he could play football and have a chance at a better life.  Shane knew he was out of shape and hadn’t played football in a while, but he asked his mother to believe in him and she did.  Her belief in him was the spark to a fire inside him that kept him going in the right direction.  He was looked down upon by all the recruiters and analysts in football, and used that as motivation whenever he needed it.  He signed to Missouri and would spend three years before declaring for the 2015 draft.  A time that is filled with stress of the unknown became even more stressful for Shane when his hope of being a top 5 draft pick went up in smoke due to being caught with possession of marijuana a couple days before the draft.

He was passed up by the three teams he had talked to the entire process, and was in shock that one minuscule decision could derail and entire career worth of success and positivity.  He was picked 23rd overall by the Broncos where he won a Super Bowl his rookie season and is an active member of their roster playing in every game up to this current season.  Shane’s story is important for many reasons.

Obviously, he is a walking testament of turning a negative into a positive. He battled obesity, no male figure in his life, poverty and Kansas City en route to a NFL career.  Everyone who reads and hears about his story can see how that when battled with challenges and opposition in your life, sometimes succeeding isn’t about you.  Putting into perspective the daily sacrifice his mom made for him allowed for Shane to never take a day for granted, and shows anyone reading this that in a moment of failure or doubt, giving up really isn’t an option.  Failure is not a bad thing, just like Shane slipping into later portion of the first round, when we slip in life if we keep our composure and never surrender there will be something better waiting behind the next door.

On a deeper level however, Shane and everything he has accomplished is because of faith that his mother had in him, and the desire he had to not let her down.  When an athlete is playing or competing for someone or something outside of themselves, they physically cannot fail.  When an athlete plays for themselves, there is a visible ceiling to their success.  At some point in their journey they will either become content with their success or due to a failure they will quit because they see no reason continuing to pursue their goal.

An athlete who is driven by an ulterior motive, something or something that they view bigger than themselves causes an inability to fail because the reason they are playing is more important to them than themselves.  To put it simply, when someone has a passion or drive that is fueled by something they view being bigger than themselves, even if they do face opposition in any form, the reason for their pursuit will not allow them to stop because of one defeat.  The reason for competing will cause the get back up and continue to succeed no matter what happens to them.

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