NOTE: This offseason, Marlon Byrd added a new tattoo on his right arm. It’s an excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech, delivered at the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910. Here’s the excerpt and below that, Marlon’s first post for 2012:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
The quote is not talking about going out and trying to succeed, it’s talking about giving it your all regardless, win, lose or draw, whatever happens, and knowing that whenever you get up and then you go home, that you have no questions, none whatsoever. You can’t question yourself, you can’t doubt yourself. I feel I do that every single year. This last year was not a good year for me but at the same time, I left it all out on the field. It wasn’t like, oh, I could’ve done more, I could’ve done better. I didn’t have a good year. I put it all out there and didn’t have a good year. I came into the offseason and trained harder. I’ve done that every single year, good or bad. I feel that’s my character. Every time I read that, I feel that’s me he’s talking about. That’s why I put it on my arm. It’s not even a reminder because I feel that’s me. I put it on there because it is me, it’s a part of me. Just the history behind the speech, it’s from 1910, and me putting the Coliseum around it, and that old school feel of those guys battling. To take that mindset — I know we play baseball — but to have that mindset going onto the field, I think we need that.
My wife sends it to me every year on Opening Day. She found it, and she’d send it to me every single year to remind me that all the work I put in, I’m able to do that every single day, and not just in April and May but until Sept. 28, Oct. 3, whatever that last day of the season is.