President's Message: On Never Giving Up

May 17, 2016

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” – Basketball Coach Jim Valvano

Coach Valvano was talking about the fight with cancer that claimed his life, but he meant it as advice for everything in our lives. It’s great advice.

Not so easy to follow though, right? We’ve all done it. We’ve all had those times when enough is enough. It’s why Navy Seals are the chosen few. You only get to be a Seal if you don’t give up. Ever.

A number of years ago a few of my sons wanted to try wrestling. After being a bit skeptical at first because I wasn’t a big wrestling fan, I agreed to support their efforts if they agreed to commit to an entire season.

One son got hurt early in the season and an older son took to it very well, winning some matches and losing some.

But my 2nd grader, after his first official match was ready to throw in the towel. The high level of intensity of an actual wrestling match took him off guard. He got choked, though the referee didn’t see it and eventually he got beat. He got upset. He didn’t want to get choked again so getting back out there was scary. In his head, he was done. His mother and I though refused to let him walk away. We told him he made a commitment – other kids were counting on him. He easily got beat two more times that day.

I don’t know exactly what happened but after all that drama, something clicked for him. He reached a turning point and decided he would learn how not to get choked. So he got better, a lot better. He won some tournaments. Won the district and regional events. He wrapped up the season with a 4th place finish at the state wrestling tournament.

On the car ride home he said he was done, wouldn’t wrestle again. Broke my heart frankly but I was so proud of him that day I still tear up thinking about it. He stuck it out. He worked hard. He didn’t give up, though he desperately wanted to. He learned a lot about himself, even at such a young age.

Why do I share this story?

It strikes me as important to be reminded again, that we simply can’t give up in our defense of the 2nd Amendment. Over the past few weeks and months the onslaught against our 2nd Amendment rights has reached a fever pitch. In fact, in this very issue of InSight you’ll find a link to a story about new proposals in California’s legislature that stagger my ability to comprehend.

The anti-gun crowd will clearly continue to devise new and devious ways to strip us of our rights. Because of it… we must not quit. We must not falter. We need to make sure they are not successful in choking off this industry because too much is at stake.

I hope you join me at the NRA Annual Convention this week in re-committing to our efforts of protecting our 2nd Amendment rights. I’ll see you in Louisville.  

Until next time,


Kenyon Gleason
NASGW President

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