I Feel Like Going On by Ray Lewis
Sit Down and Read
One Line Summary
Legendary middle linebacker recounts his journey from nothing to Super Bowl MVP.
If you don’t know who Ray Lewis is, then you haven’t watched football in the last 20 years.
Ray was a college star at University of Miami, who then went on to have a legendary career as a middle linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.
Some of his career highlights include:
-2x Super Bowl Champion
-Super Bowl MVP
-13x Pro Bowl
-2x Defensive Player of the Year
He also has been informally regarded as one of the most inspiring and charismatic players of all time. Here is a video to give you a taste:
Needless to say, for anyone who is serious about living their life purpose, Ray Lewis is a man to study. And we’re fortunate enough that he left his memories in this book, I Feel Like Going On.
I Feel Like Going On chronicles Ray’s entire life, right up to following his retirement from pro football. It’s an amazing story that will strike people on that same path.
Why it’s Awesome
Here’s the cliffnotes of Ray’s life.
Ray grew up the son of a single, struggling mom. His father walked out before he even knew him and so their family grew up in dirt poverty.
The men his mother did bring around were often physically abusive to Ray. And it was from this leverage point that Ray Lewis began to work out in order to defend himself.
By what appears to be a stroke of pure luck, Ray got put in football. In football Ray found an outlet for many of his problems at home.
Oh yeah, he was real good too.
So good that he quickly became a star on his high school team and a state champion wrestler. So good that D1 football teams were scouting him hard.
In another bizarre twist of fate, Ray ended up at University of Miami and not FSU, where he originally intended on going. Maybe not such a bad thing, considering UM had players like Warren Sapp at the time.
Ray made an immediate impact at UM, but the team failed to claim the big prize. Problems with some of the coaching changes meant Ray was done playing college ball after his junior year.
Finally he went to the NFL draft. It was assumed that he might go to the Green Bay Packers, but was snatched before the Packers had their pick by the Baltimore Ravens in their first inaugural season (1996).
Ray became a star, despite NFL doubters who believed he was too small for the big league. And in 2000, the Ravens won their first Super Bowl in a dominate performance. Ray got MVP and seemed on top of the world.
But the fun didn’t last.
It was at this point at Ray was infamously arrested for a double homicide after a Super Bowl party in Atlanta. He was never convicted, but he did plead guilty to a charge for obstruction of justice. He got 1 year in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Personally, I don’t think anyone will ever really know what happened that night except for Ray and everyone involved. Ray gives his full side of the story, saying that he never even saw the stabbings. Given that no real evidence was ever found, I’m inclined to believe him.
Others however were not. His reputation in the NFL was torn apart and didn’t recover for many, many years. Even to this day it’s a sore topic to bring up, with people believing Ray is guilty.
This led Ray on a crusade to win back the hearts of the fans. But it wasn’t until his final year in the NFL that the Ravens saw the Super Bowl again.
Ray’s last season was a wild roller coaster. Many people suspected he was going to retire, but he never let on for sure. And during the middle of the season, Ray suffered from what was usually a season ending (if not career ending) tricep tear.
But he knew this was his last year. So instead of going out on an injury, Ray decided to try what every physical therapist and doctor told him was impossible: rehab himself for the playoffs.
He went into full recovery mode, doing nothing else but working his rehab for the remaining time in the regular season and essentially willing himself to health. Finally, by the final game, he took the risk of getting back on the field because the Ravens were slipping.
Throughout the entire playoffs, Ray played through tremendous amounts of pain. He wasn’t 100%. But because he was such a leader, even his mere presence seemed to make a difference.
The Ravens eventually took the Lombardi trophy and Ray retired off his second Super Bowl victory. A fitting end for a legend.
This is mostly where the book leaves off. There is some wrap up involving Ray’s relationship with his father and family, but mostly the book ends here.
It’s an inspiring story to say the least. He is a guy who really has essentially “seen it all”. He had moments of absolute failure and absolute glory. All in all, it’s clear that he grew as a person.
Despite his anger problems growing up, he ends the book with his children remarking that he doesn’t seem angry anymore. He seems to have healed those wounds and found a deeper sense of peace within himself.
Why Does It Suck
I really don’t have any criticism to give. You get a full view of Ray from Ray’s own perspective. It balances nicely his family and professional career. What else could you ask for?
The Wrap Up
If you want to be inspired, read this book. This will put into context just how hard you’re not hustling and passionate about what you do. If you can tap even a small percentage of Ray’s energy, you’ll be huge.