I found this last week in some old files – a newspaper article from 1997. We were in the heat of the battle in Brooklyn. EVERY DAY was a fight. Many of you know, I’ve seen 23 people murdered on the streets of New York. Most of it happened in the first 20 years that I was here. But today just as it was back then people are still shocked that I’ve lasted this long. When they took this picture, and wrote this article, what 17 years ago, the questions are still the same and the answers are the same pretty much too. You try to explain to people the motivation behind it all and it’s like trying to teach a pig how to sing. You can’t do it and it just annoys the pig. So, I don’t even bother anymore.
I was thinking of Rodger Banister, first man that broke the four-minute mile in 1954. They said it couldn’t be done. I love it when I hear about something that people say to you can’t be done. Bannister’s record lasted just 46 days. He had reached this record with minimal training, while practicing as a junior doctor.
It always takes somebody to believe that something can’t be done, and they push and push until it is done. They raise the bar and they set the example. That becomes the challenge for others who then say: “If he can do it, if she can do it, if they can do it, THEN I CAN DO IT.” And so it is. So maybe today, some of you are looking at this article from 1997, maybe this simple story of Rodger Banister breaking a record that folks said could never be broken by a human. I wonder what you can do that people said you couldn’t do. I wonder what you could do that even you said you couldn’t do.
Maybe you need to figure that out today.