That was the message delivered by Jan White, a member of The Ohio State University's 1968 National Championship winning football team, to the Mentors Matters group at Rollandia Golf Center on June 29.
White told the kids a story about a boy who loved to run.
The child that White described had a mother who recognized her son's talent. She wanted him to be the first in her family to attend college, so she made a deal with the boy. If he worked hard at athletics, she would ensure that his grades remained in good standing so that maybe he could attend college on scholarship.
The boy agreed. Unfortunately, there was no track team at his junior high, so his mom encouraged him to play football until he went to high school.
The boy didn't like football, but decided to stick with it. While his mom was making sure he did his homework and went to class, the boy was excelling on the field and the track.
So, how good was this kid? He ended up becoming a high school All-American in both sports.
Football coaches across the nation took notice. This boy, who really didn't like football, was now being recruited to play the sport all across the county.
The same kid who had to be talked into playing football in junior high, was now going to college on a football scholarship. His successes on the gridiron also continued.
It was at this point in the story White revealed that the character he had been describing was actually him.
"I never have any trouble telling this story because it's my story," White said.
White said that whatever obstacles came his way, he met. Whether it was changing from a sprinter in the 100-meter dash, an event that he loved, to a hurdler, or from a wide receiver, to a tight end, at the request of Buckeye head coach Woody Hayes, or becoming the first in his family to graduate from college, he was determined to succeed, and do his best.
White also set goals beyond football. After retiring from the Buffalo Bulls in 1973, White pursued his graduate degree and a field where he could work with children. He now works in the Greene County juvenile court system as a Court Administrator.