What does it mean to be strong? As a college coach, I contemplate what this term means from time to time. I’ve never really sat down and looked up the definition in the dictionary.

I bet it would say something about being able to endure when the going gets tough (physical and mental toughness), or being willing to hit challenges head-on.  Or maybe it would say something about elevating your game when the going gets tough (staying focused on the goal you want to accomplish). That’s what a strong athlete means to me.

And you know the word “strong” doesn’t always have to relate to athletics. I’ve ran across many strong human beings in my journey through life. I bet they have the same definition of strong. Those strong people in my life are the ones who aren’t afraid of hard work.  They aren’t afraid of challenges and are ready to face all the obstacles in life.

How can you test if you are strong? It’s not always easy to figure out the strength within. But I do think you can evaluate how strong you are. The easiest way to see how strong you are, is to see how you measure up to the next challenge that is thrown your way. As an athlete this could be a difficult situation like the bottom of the ninth, two outs and the tying run on third. In the real world, it can be a difficult situation like how to confront that bully at the office or finding a ride home for your kids after school. 

We get tested on our strength each day and we probably don’t even know it.

Since I took the time to talk about what the word strong means to me, without looking up the definition, I thought I would end with Webster’s dictionary and the definition of strong.  It talks about “physical strength” and being “efficient and effective in a specified direction”.  It also states this could mean “well established”.

It turns out I was pretty close to the actual definition.

You are strong enough, you are talented enough and you can accomplish greatness. Have the courage to attempt things that you never thought you could accomplish. You are strong.

Chris Hardie is the Head Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach at Waynesburg University.  You can follow him on Twitter @Coach_Hardie_WU or follow the team on Facebook at Waynesburg University Cross Country.

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