Commitment to Excellence
The Coach's Corner
Published March 22, 2012 @ midnight
In our lives today, we have so much and have so much opportunity, that it is often difficult to encourage a young person the value of sacrifice and commitment. We are so prosperous, that we seldom have to do without material things, or even leisurely activities have become mundane.
Paul Harvey better explained this when he penned, “Tear to my Eye”:
“We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.
For my grandchildren, I'd like better. I'd really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches. I really would.
I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car.
And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your dog put to sleep. I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.
I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him.
When you want to see a movie and your little brother wants to tag along, I hope you'll let him.
I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.
If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.
When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.
I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.
May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.
I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.
I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.
I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.
These things I wish for you - tough times and hard work, disappointment and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life.
Written with a pen. We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them.”
When the going gets rough and the mind and body begin to experience pain, anguish and adversity, there always seems to be a less demanding alternative. It is much easier to play video game football than to get up, call your friends, go meet at a field, and actually physically play the game.
As parents it is often easier to just go buy that shirt or pair of shoes, than to take the time to make kids earn things. You have to stand over them, check their work, listen to their whining, and it takes time and energy to care enough to be that involved in teaching a lesson.
To stick with it, to endure hardship, to pass up an easier way and choose a harder path requires the sacrifice of personal comfort and feelings; it requires a commitment to excellence. The greatest benefit of success is not recognition received, but the investment made and the satisfaction gained from previous sacrifices.
Through sacrifice and commitment to excellence, character is developed and character wins more games than any other single trait an athlete may possess. Character development; what other reason is there for doing something that is strenuous or unpleasant?
People are all born with varying degrees of natural ability. Sacrifice and a commitment to excellence are required to develop that potential ant that ability. Time, hard work, continuous practice and repetition, all go into the making of a successful person.
You can be as great as you want to be. If you believe in yourself and have the courage, the determination, the dedication and the competitive drive, and if you are willing to give up the little things in life to accomplish an ultimate goal down the road, anything can be accomplished.
To be truly successful, to be a true winner, you must make a commitment to excellence in your sport and in your life. This type of commitment means being willing to do whatever is necessary to become successful.
You must be willing to work hard, to push yourself physically until it hurts. I believe that any player who walks off the field or court after playing a full game, who is not physically spent, had not worked to his physical potential. It is the same in life. If you walk in the door of your home with jobs left pending, and you are not going the extra mile at work, you are cheating yourself out of the success you could be.
To be a winner, you must be willing to make sacrifices of time, your body, and your decisions. But it is it really a sacrifice to be asked to live healthy, give your precious time to a good cause, and to make decisions based on your goals and not your current mood or feelings? No, that is not sacrifice. When you waste time, or abuse your body with chemicals, or you make choices that hinders your success, that is sacrificing. You are sacrificing you chance to be all that you can be.
If you have a true commitment to excellence you will give up those things that do not help you become better. “Anyone can dabble, but once you've made that commitment, your blood has that particular thing in it, and it's very hard for people to stop you,” explains Bill Cosby.
Do not be content with mediocrity – strive to live up to the greatness within you. Doing the tough things today will prepare us for the big things tomorrow. Ability is important, but dependability is critical.
The great legendary coach, Vince Lombardi, had this to say about making the commitment to excellence:
“I owe almost everything to football, which I spent the greater part of my life involved in, and I have never lost my respect, my admiration, not my love for what I consider to be a great game. Each day after the battle, one group savors victory; another group wallows in the bitterness of defeat. The many hurts seem a small price to pay for having won, and there is not reason at all which compensate for having lost.
For the winner there is 100% elation, 100% joy, and 100% fun and for the loser the only thing left is a 100% resolution and 100% determination. The game, I think, is great deal like life. Every man makes his own personal commitment toward excellence and toward victory. Although you know ultimate victory can never be completely won, it must be pursued with all of one’s might and each week there is a new encounter, each year a new challenge.
All of the rings and all of the money and all of the color and all of the display, they linger only in a memory. But the spirit, the will to win, the will to excel, these are the things that endure and these are the qualities, of course, that are so much more important that any of the events that occur.
I’d like to say that the quality of any man’s life is a full measure of that man’s personal commitment to excellence and to victory, regardless of what field of endeavor he may be in.”