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Spotlight in Sports: Lifting Spirits

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What began as a personal journey for greatness, soon became a quest for providing support to others.

For a World Champion Power Lifter and Chenango Valley High School teacher, Bill Clark, and a former Alabama Football player from Syracuse, Trent Patterson, achieving their goals was a dream come true. But the view from the top wasn't as glorious as it seemed, knowing that so many other people didn't enjoy life the way it was meant to be lived...to the fullest.

According to Clark, "Around 90% of people have the potential to be very good at something." Whether that is on the sports field, or in the everyday work-life, Clark and Patterson said they are looking to change the spirits of everyone around them to find the drive that will best suit anyone's need.

"You have to surround yourself with positivity," said Trent Patterson. "Just by changing the way you view life will affect everything around you."

A major factor that Clark and Patterson agree changes lives, negatively, is the unknown consequences of subconsciousness. Bill Clark, who received training at the Olympic Training Centers at Lake Placid and Colorado Springs, said when an Olympic counselor approached him about listening to Bruce Springsteen while he slept, she cautioned him to be aware of his subconscious thoughts while he was sleeping.

"When your in the middle of a competition, your rational mind...shuts down and your subconscious takes over. If you've been training it all this time to be negative, that's what you are going to produce," said Bill Clark. Clark is one of only several strength athletes ever to be both an international medalist in Olympic Weightlifting and a World Champion in Powerlifting.

Patterson, who is also the only New York athlete to receive a full scholarship to the University of Alabama, said he understands that it's easy to say to "think positively," but actually living it is the complication. He said while playing for the Crimson Tide, he was called "too small" and "a Yankee can't play Alabama Football," but by disassociating himself from the negativity and knowing that it was "OK to fail," Patterson convinced himself of becoming better than he was.

Bill and Trent regularly partner together for motivational speeches at schools and organizations across the nation, and the Southern Tier, sharing their own experiences as athletes and champions. Together they worked on producing a self-help book that targets the roots of what is holding people back from achieving their goals, titled "Lifting Spirits."

They said they are currently planning to develop the Youth Wellness Academy, a training program for schools that reinforces positive stimulation for the conscious and subconscious minds of boys and girls. Aiming to unlock the inner-potential of everyone around them, Clark and Patterson said they will continue to lift spirits and unlock the secrets of achievement.

The "Lifting Spirits" duo will be signing their book at Arrowhead Christian Bookstore in Johnson City, February 24, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on Bill Clark and Trent Patterson, or a schedule of their upcoming motivational speaking seminars, visit their website by clicking here.