Athlete’s positive attitude focuses on the prize, not the pain

blosseyandteam01Nick Blossey ′09
Computer Science major
Erie, Pennsylvania

The actions and advice of a highly decorated American prisoner of war strengthened this benched goalkeeper’s commitment to the relentless pursuit of a positive attitude, and helped Messiah College’s men’s soccer team earn its sixth national title in program history. 

According to Nick Blossey ′09, now considered one of the College’s most legendary soccer players, “choosing to be positive” stems from the Stockdale Paradox, named after Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale (1923-2005), who endured seven years of torture while imprisoned in a Vietnamese POW camp. Later, when asked how he coped, Stockdale replied, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. I never doubted that I would get out, that I would turn the experience into the defining event of my life.”

Gearing Up

So when Blossey faced a season of bench time as the team’s back-up goalie, he committed himself to following Stockdale’s example, remaining relentlessly positive. “Like Stockdale, I never doubted that I would earn a spot as a starter,” says Blossey.  “I worked hard every single day toward achieving that goal, knowing that I was doing it not just for myself but for the team.”

And it’s not just talk for Blossey, who sees the rewards of turning difficult events into inspiring displays of brotherhood, toughness, and positive attitude, just like Stockdale. “During a long practice, we take it as a personal challenge to stop focusing on how much we hurt physically, and instead yell out encouragement to the rest of the team. Or when we play teams who foul, curse, and spit on us, we take it as a challenge to give everyone watching a display of strong, classy Christian athletes,” he says.

Getting it Done

And then came the defining moment for Blossey. A times-up, 1-1 draw against Stevens Institute of Technology during the 2008 NCAA Division III men’s soccer national championships and head coach Dave Brandt calls Blossey to his post. “He’s a great shot stopper,” says Brandt.  “We felt if we went to PKs [penalty kicks] today, we were going with Blossey.”

“I knew what I had to do,” recalls Blossey.  Inspiring one of the most dramatic game endings in Messiah College soccer history, Blossey thwarted three straight penalty kick efforts by Stevens, earning him the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player honor, and solidifying yet another national championship for Messiah’s men’s soccer team.

Says Blossey of his achievements, “Controlling your attitude frees you from being at the mercy of whatever your current circumstance is. I find that to be truly amazing.”

Posted in 2009, Athletics, Computer Science, Majors & Minors | Comments Off

Posted on June 2nd, 2009


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