NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano and daughters laugh with player Derek Whittenberg (left) after the team returned to RDU after winning the 1983 ACC championship. © Roger W Winstead

Winning the Jimmy V Way

Written by Jamie Valvano

People that believe that winning isn’t everything obviously did not grow up with Jim Valvano.  My Dad was one of the most passionate and competitive people I have ever known.  I recall my younger sister LeeAnn crying during family board game nights with our take no prisoners attitude.  Defeating his opponent was as much a part of his genetic makeup as his brown eyes and impish grin.  I believe it was this character trait that enabled him to shine regardless of the circumstances.  Down by 10 with 2 minutes left on the clock…no problem.  Facing a giant in the NCAA Championship game…we got this.  Diagnosed with terminal cancer and given a year to live…watch what I can do.

There were 3 key components evident in my Dad’s victories in life.  From an early age, he had mapped out the path that would ultimately lead him to cut down the nets after winning a championship game.  However, he knew he could not reach that goal alone.  A team of talented and motivated individuals would have to surround him as he marched forward.  Once he assembled the team, he used his voice to relentlessly share his miraculous dream until you had no choice but to believe the impossible.  These were the same essential components used no matter the enemy.  A powerful vision, an assembled team, and his emotional filled voice were the ingredients necessary for any Valvano victory.

Private desires kept hidden from view can never be achieved.  We must stand up, speak out, and ask others for support if we are to be triumphant.  I am forever grateful that Jim Valvano had the courage to share his final vision of a world without cancer.  Today, Team V is stronger than ever, and continues to believe that together we can accomplish anything.  When we grow weary from the work and saddened by the struggles, we hear his voice imploring us to not give up…and so we continue.