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Prisoner of Hope or Self Made Man

The Coach's Corner

Published Nov. 17, 2011 @ 7:21 a.m.

It amazes me every day when I listen to the news or read a newspaper.  People all over the country are disenchanted with the state of our nation and their position in life.  America was founded as the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Never did anyone say you are entitled to another man’s wealth, or support from the government, or any other hand out.  Everyone is free to get up in the morning, go to work, and EARN what they can and pursue the life they want.  There are too many though who have been hobbled by thinking someone is to blame for their condition and that they are owed something, yet they give nothing back or even show the resolve to stand up on their own.

In athletics every day, we try to teach each player that their success depends on the amount of commitment and work that they choose to put into preparation.  Respect is earned and wins are seized, neither one is given away. When a player points a finger of blame, we quickly show them that when they do that, there three more fingers pointing back at themselves. (Point your finger out and see where the others are pointing if you don’t understand what I mean.)

As coaches and leaders we try to always take the positive approach.  For building up a person will help them more than tearing them down.  There will be times when there is critical assessment and instruction given, but the message is to correct so they may achieve, so that there is reason and a plan to be the best.  Like the apostle Paul states in the Holy Bible, “Forgetting those things which lie in the past I press forward toward the mark.”   Paul wrote this on “death row” in a Roman prison and his point was to fight the battle of life to win the heavenly reward.  The approach we as Americans and as athletes are similar.  We must recognize that winning and wealth is not everything, but the humble and honest effort to win and achieve is.

Every day you can read the birth announcements everywhere around the world and they all state that the mother has given birth to a baby boy or girl.  Now where does it say, today a woman gave birth to a lawyer, artist, athlete or engineer.  On another page there is listed the obituaries where the doctor, salesman, police officer, or educator has died.  Obviously somewhere between birth and death, by CHOICE and by TRAINING, everyone becomes what they chosen to become.  No mother has every given birth to a success or a failure and even though only a few ever stand up and declare that they are “self-made” men or women, it is an undeniable fact that, that is exactly what we all are…SELF MADE.  Championships are built and won by the support, effort, and resources of everyone involved.  We can’t wish for easy opponents or lucky breaks as athletes. We must be self-made champions and we work every day to this end.

Some people blame their parents, a teacher, a boss, the government, for their lack of happiness or their failures in life.  Some blame a spouse, the color of their skin, their religious beliefs, lack of an education or a physical deficiency on being frustrated and down trodden.  Some say they are too old, too young, too little, too fat, or that they live in the wrong place to be wealthy and satisfied.  In the news you can clearly here that the blame is on the government or the rich or their past family heritage for keeping them down. Your success and happiness all begin with YOU.  The more involved you become in controlling your own future and making choices however hard toward reaching your goals, the more you will realize that you and only you can make yourself become what you want.  As a young student athlete, it is a great lesson to learn, early in life.  No one can keep us from our goals except our own decisions.

The saddest thing I ever hear is when someone says, “If I could only talk, run, jump, sing, dance, think, study, etc… like him or her, I would……”, and their voice trails off into silence.  The message being, “that if you had someone else’s ability or resources, what couldn’t you do?” The truth is, my friend, that you would not do a cotton-picking thing with someone else’s ability if you are not using the ability you already have.  You are deluding yourself and worse you are deceiving yourself.  As an athlete, there is always someone out there bigger, faster, or stronger, but athletics is full of examples of those who overcome, overachieve and refuse to be defeated.  There is more to life and success that human potential, no; the key is not the given ability, but the applied ability.

Don’t be a prisoner of wishful thinking.  Don’t be one of the millions that live every day wishing for that big break, that lucky strike, that instant flash of fame or fortune.  Those folks are always dreaming and wishing for someone else’s ability or talent and never get to work with what they have themselves. The truth of the matter is you already have the ability necessary to be happy and success and you live in a country that allows you the freedom to pursue whatever you will.  There are countless examples of successful people who have used what they have and where given even more in life, and there are many more examples of those who don’t use what they have and they end up losing it in the end.

At the risk of being a little crass, this reminds me of a saying my father used to say, “Son, you can wish in one hand and spit in the other and see which one fills up first.”  Kind of harsh but it is true.  You will be rewarded with more in life by taking action, making personal goasl and pursuing them with all your ability than you will ever be given in this life. 

Be Bold in your pursuit of happiness and set your goals for the Gold in life and you will reach both if you endeavor to preserve and be the best you can be.

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