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How will you spend 86,400 seconds?

“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”

Those words, from the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, came to mind as I sat on the edge of my recliner Saturday night, taking in every hard-hitting snap of the Alabama at LSU game.

With its national title hopes hanging in the balance, even a late fumble by ‘Bama at its own 9 yardline (which led to an LSU field goal and a 13-10 lead with 50 seconds left) failed to prevent the Crimson Tide from quitting.

With no timeouts, ‘Bama drove, got into field goal range, and tied the game with just three ticks left in regulation before winning it 20-13 in overtime.

Nick Saban now patrols the Alabama sideline, but Saturday’s win reminded me of how the Bear did it back in his day.

The Bear remains as my all-time favorite college football player and coach….not because he and I share the same last name (even though I’ve been known to claim him as a distant relative).

Paul William Bryant was born to a poor family on Sept. 11, 1913 in southern Arkansas. Seventeen years later he led his high school team (Fordyce, Arkansas) to an undefeated season and a state championship.

He played collegiately at ‘Bama, where the Tide posts a 23-3-2 record during his career. He played one game with a partially broken bone in his left leg, and leads the Tide to a 25-0 win over Tennessee.

His legend continues to grow as a coach, amassing 323 wins as a head coach at the University of Maryland, the University of Kentucky, TexasA&M University, and ‘Bama. At the latter, he served 25 years where his teams won six national titles and 13 conference championships.

While his coaching ability, houndstooth hat and deep voice are legendary, so is his whit. In a game at SEC rival Georgia, Bryant was heading out onto the field from the tunnel when a bottle of “Old Granddad” came flying out of the stands, just missing his head. The coach turned to the state trooper who was providing escort and said, “I’m disappointed at that.” The trooper responded by saying, “Well, you know how some fans can be.” The Bear shot back, “No, I thought them Georgia boys drank better whiskey than that!”

That brings me to another intriguing part of Bear Bryant’s legend….this one coming in death. While the author is unknown, a well-worn piece of paper was discovered in the coach’s wallet after he passed away on Jan. 26, 1983. It was entitled: The Magic Bank Account and goes like this:

Imagine that you had won the following *PRIZE* in a contest: Each morning your bank would deposit $86,400 in your private account for your use. However, this prize has rules:

1. Everything that you didn’t spend during each day would be taken away from you.

2. You may not simply transfer money into some other account.

3. You may only spend it.

4. Each morning upon awakening, the bank opens your account with another $86,400 for that day.

5. The bank can end the game without warning; at any time it can say, “Game Over!” It can close the account and you will not receive a new one.

What would you personally do?

You would buy anything and everything you wanted right? Not only for yourself, but for all the people you love and care for. Even for people you don’t know, because you couldn’t possibly spend it all on yourself, right?

You would try to spend every penny, and use it all, because you knew it would be replenished in the morning, right?

ACTUALLY, This GAME is REAL …Shocked ??? YES!

Each of us is already a winner of this *PRIZE*. We just can’t seem to see it.

The PRIZE is *TIME*

1. Each morning we awaken to receive 86,400 seconds as a gift of life.

2. And when we go to sleep at night, any remaining time is not credited to us.

3. What we haven’t used up that day is forever lost.

4. Yesterday is forever gone.

5. Each morning the account is refilled, but the bank can dissolve your account at any time without warning.

So, what will you do with your 86,400 seconds?

Those seconds are worth so much more than the same amount in dollars. Think about it and remember to enjoy every second of your life, because time races by so much quicker than you think.

So take care of yourself, be happy, love deeply and enjoy life!

Here’s wishing you a wonderful and beautiful day. Start “spending”….

“Don’t complain about growing old, some people don’t get the privilege.”

Thanks, Bear, for the memories, and the wise advice.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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