There's probably a better terminology for me to use, but this one just works for me. Growing up as a child who competed in soccer, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball and tennis, I was always moved and psyched when I saw a "ballsy" performance by an athlete.
The ones that I remember the most, are those in which athletes overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to perform. To me, these odds come in many forms: sickness, injury, personal loss, disability, etc. I realize that there are so many that can be told. These are a few that come to mind:
Chris Paul's Grandfather's Death - after his 61-year-old grandfather was beaten and killed in a park, two nights later, Paul scores 61 points in honor of his grandfather. He purposely missed a free-throw that would have been his 62nd point, walked off the court and embraced his father. Now, more than 8 years later, Paul is actually an advocate to have those once young and wreck less teenagers released from their prison sentence so that they can live their lives. What an amazing man.
Jordan Plays through the flu - any basketball fan who lived through the dual three-peat era will remember this Jordan's 38 point performance in the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. The iconic picture of Scottie Pippen basically carrying him off the court will always be seared in my memory.
Kerri Strug nails her vault - I'm not a gymnastics fan (unless my nieces are performing), but man this is an iconic moment in US Sports history.
The Story of J Mac - I think this guy is a royal stud.
A Ballsy Performance at the Crossfit Games
I came across another ballsy performance from this past weekend. Heather Scaglione, in the CrossFit Games regional competition dislocated her shoulder doing muscle-ups. She popped her shoulder back in on her own, and through evident pain, continued the competition. Her standings were such that even with a 1st place finish in coming events, she would not have advanced to the games. I would have given up.
Not Heather. She went through additional workouts which included burpees, ground-to-overheads, rowing and hanging toes-to-bars and fought through evident pain. I wish I could have been at the event to witness this amazing display of heart and grit. Check out her ballsy performance.
When I see or hear about a performance like this, I can't help but be motivated. Those extra reps in a workout look a bit easier, the energy to get to the gym comes a little faster, and my motivation to kick my butt back into shape is invigorated.
To all athletes who've ever put out a ballsy performance. I salute you.