Jaromir Jagr turns 40 years young today and NHL.com caught up with the Flyers veteran to talk about what keeps him working so damn hard to be the absolute best player he can as his career winds down. We've heard about the legendary work ethic and extremely late night practice sessions Jags likes to employ, but I learned a few more nuggets that make me admire the future Hall of Famer even more.
For instance, having around the clock access to the Flyers training facility was written in to his contract with the orange and black. Basically, the guy didn't want to sign with a team that wouldn't allow him to work hard enough. Amazing.
He's also lives a very healthy lifestyle with no boozing or smoking. However, we do happen to have one thing in common with the hockey legend: he's addicted to Diet Coke. Even drinks it during games. Somebody get that guy an endorsement deal pronto.
The best part of the post by Adam Kimelman was when Jagr simply talks about what keeps him working so damn hard after all these years.
"You have to practice a lot harder. I know that," he said. "You've got
to love the game so much that even if you're tired, you still have to go
there. Sometimes I don't want to go run at night, but I know if I don't
do it, tomorrow I'm going to feel worse than I did the night before.
That's what's pushing me.
"When you don't fear anything and you think everything is going to be
OK, then what's the reason to do it? When there's fear that you're going
to feel a lot worse, that's pushing you. And I know if I don't do it
today, tomorrow's not going to get better. There may be a five-percent
chance you're going to feel better (by taking a day off), but there’s a
95-percent chance you're going to feel a lot worse ... and you still
have to do it the next day anyway. I understand that, and it's tough to
do that, especially when you struggle. You have to have the will to do
it, even if your body doesn't want to. You still have to push yourself
and work even harder. If I'm not able to push myself, I think I'm going
to quit. When you feel tired and you don't push yourself, it's time to
retire because you're not going to get better. There's no miracles.
You're not going to wake up the next day and feel 10 years younger."
I think Jack Nicholson said a beautiful women made him want to be a better man, but damn it if Jaromir Jagr doesn't inspire you to work a little harder.