KHS Academic Banquet
Mayor BJ Murphy
“Just Do It”
Good evening Kinston High! I stand before you a proud member of the Viking family. I wasn’t nearly as smart as some of you so this is only my second Academic Banquet. But only because I’ve been asked to speak at both of them.
Congratulations to all of you who have earned the right to be here.
(Recognize my father, Buster Murphy)
Your philosophies (what you think), drives your actions and your actions drives your results. I want to take a few moments here tonight to share with you some philosophies that have shaped me in to the person I am today.
See, I love that we’re in this gym tonight. Basketball is a sport that has created a culture of success for our community. Basketball is a team sport. Sure, there are great players, but none of them can win without a team.
Coaches can only be great coaches if they put the right mix of players together.
So too is and will be your success in life.
A mentor of mine once said, “BJ you are combination of the 5 people you hang around the most. Consider your future goals and aspirations, your health, your finances, your career choice and more. Now who are the 5 people you spend the most time with? You will see that in many ways you are just like them.”
Wow, I thought to myself. So I said, “Self, what changes do I need to make?”
Two of my 5 people were negative influences in my life. See, I want to surround myself with people who are closer to God, make more money, give more of their time, have integrity and so on. So, I cut them off. Now, I didn’t tell them that, but I did stop hanging around them as much.
Being intentional about what’s influencing you is important to your success in school and in life.
Another philosophy that has helped shape me that I hope to impart on you this evening is the difference between your standards and your goals. At the beginning of each of the seasons represented by these banners, the coaches and the players agreed that their goal was to win the conference, advance to regionals and win a state championship.
We all can agree that’s a valid goal. But let’s explore what a standard is.
Did you wake up this morning and set a goal to brush your teeth?
Did you say, “Oh, I will work so hard to make sure I put that toothpaste on the brush?”
See, I hope we all can agree that brushing your teeth and presenting yourself in a positive light is a standard.
Your goals can become your standards.
If you are here for your second, third or fourth Academic Banquet, then please stand. (applause)
What once was a goal has now become a standard for you. What once was a goal to win championships in Kinston is now a standard for this community. Kinston is proud of our young people. We are proud of who you are. We are proud of what you’ve achieved. And because of this environment of success, we expect you to do your best.
We expect you to achieve greatness.
And we expect more banners to be hung in this building.
But, we also expect you to be here next year. And seniors, we expect academic success from you at the next level. We expect it, because you’ve proven yourself capable.
One philosophy that has changed my life involves the Cheetah and the Gazelle and it’s called “Gazelle Intensity”.
You are probably thinking, “what in the world is gazelle intensity?” I’ll get back to that in a moment.
First, I’d like to encourage each of you to take the time to set your goals for the summer and for the remainder of 2014. What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to bless? What do you want? Then how will you get it?
Once you’ve done that you need to have “gazelle intensity”. Dave Ramsey, who authored the book called “The Total Money Makeover” introduced me to gazelle intensity.
You can’t just plan out your goals…you have to run as if your life depended on them.
Cheetahs run fast, really fast—as in 70 to 75 mph fast at their top speeds. The cheetah is the fastest animal on earth, so the gazelle doesn’t have a chance, right? Wrong! Gazelles have learned that the cheetah’s speed is limited to straight-line running. So the gazelle bobs and weaves and runs in circles until the cheetah gets tired and gives up.
The gazelle is so intense during these few moments that a cheetah only catches it in one out of nineteen chases.
I want to challenge you to focus your energies on your goals like the gazelle.
Do you want to be on this platform next year?
Do you want to earn scholarship money for school?
Or do you want to finish first place in your competition?
Figure out what you want to do, map out how you are going to do it, put sticky notes on your mirror and write it in your journal, and then focus with the intensity of a gazelle like your life depended on it.
The City of Kinston has goals. Each year we craft a budget. Each year we review our progress. But the only way we can succeed in creating an environment of success is by relying on the future success of our young people. See, without you, the Global TransPark is a dream. Without you, there’s no need to keep searching for a baseball team. Without you, there’s no need to put money into Holloway and Fairfield. Because without you, none of our work makes any sense.
Kinston has a bright future. But Kinston only has a bright future because you are here tonight.
Kinston loves you. We are proud of you. And once you’ve gone off into this world to achieve great things, we want you back home to help the next generation of kids.
What you’ve achieved is significant. For most of you it was not easy. It was hard.
Life is hard too. But take a look up for a moment.
Looking up at these banners is inspiring. These banners aren’t just for decorations. They are a constant reminder that winning is a part of our culture in Kinston. They provide inspiration to our players when times are tough. When they’re down by a few points. When the clock is working against them.
Thinking of the greats who have played here is impressive. Names like Reggie Bullock, Jerry Stackhouse, Craig Dawson, Michael Dunn, Quinton Coples, Josh Dawson, Jeremy Ingram, Michael Jenkins, Denzel Keyes, Angelo Keyes and I could go on and on and on.
They are all winners. They are all from your neighborhood. What makes a winner?
Winners simply take action. They don’t just think about something, they do something.
And you can ask my wife, I’m not a big fan of excuses. I don’t do whining. When I was four years old, my mother was kidnapped, raped and murdered. My father withstood this incredible test of adversity and showed how prayer and “knee-o-logy” as he calls it can change your attitude. This event left a family split, which led to a new family for me and my siblings and our world changed in an instant.
Several years later, one of my sisters contracted two different forms of Leukemia and Cancer. Again, our course in life drastically changed through this circumstance. I vividly remember the jaundice face, bloated cheeks, hairless little 13 year old girl. Her mouth was so full of sores that she couldn’t take a sip of water. I remember taking a Q-tip, dipping it in water just to quench her thirst. But, God is good and today that little lady is now a married and successful woman, who’s building a house and raising an infant son.
You say, “But BJ, oh I came from such and such a block.”
Great. Just do it.
“No, no you don’t understand. See I was raised by a single mom.”
Wonderful. Just do it.
“Mayor, we live paycheck to paycheck and it’s hard just to pay the rent.”
Super Duper. Just do it.
What do winners do….they do it and do it and do it and do it.
“But coach, I forgot….Teacher I lost…Mom, she said this…”
Excellent. Just do it.
It’s not the disasters and disappointments in life that determine who you are, it’s how you respond to these circumstances. The same wind blows on us all. The winds of opportunity, challenge, adversity and prosperity. It’s not the wind you should concern yourself with, its how you set your sail.
Take action today on whatever you desire the most in life.
Because if you do today what others won’t, you’ll have tomorrow what others don’t.