After spending the majority of yet another weekend at sporting events, I found myself asking, “Why do we do this?” I then spent the rest of the weekend writing this blog in my head. I only wish I would have recorded my thoughts as they came to me as I’m sure they were much better at the time. FYI, rodeo is considered a sport in our family along with volleyball, basketball, wrestling, hunting, running…..yes, we may be slightly crazy! I’ll spare you the sports and life metaphors, but I do believe that sports have some valuable lessons to offer.
1. You will lose. Not everyone is a winner all the time. Some time, some where you WILL come up against someone that is better than you. You will get upset and want to throw a two year old tantrum. Don’t. If you get beat because your opponent is better then so be it. If you get beat because of your lack of try or attitude, be ready to hear about it and move on to the next game. You can only play the next game or run the next run.
2. Accept your role and recognize its value. While a certain sport may not be your “thing” the best thing you can do is accept your role on that team. And remember, it’s not always about who scores the points. A lot has to happen before that point is scored. I don’t care if your role occurs mainly at practice. It is still an important role. I’m betting that if you do that role 100%, your role will soon change. Also, if you happen to be that one who scores the points, do NOT overlook all of those roles that helped you. Make them feel valued because without them you are nothing.
3. Respect your teammates and your coach. I can’t promise that you will like all of your future coaches or teammates. You are not required to do so. You are absolutely required to respect them. While you might think you should be playing here or there, you may be playing where you are for the good of your team. You may not think your coach knows jack shit (and they might not) but the majority of coaches are doing it for the love of the game and the love of kids like you. Same goes for your teammates. You do not have to be friends off the court or outside the arena, but you will be supportive, gracious, and understanding of others.
4. Take care of your shit. The equipment your sport requires is not cheap whether it be shoes for you or tack for your horses. I am more than happy to provide that stuff until I see you abuse it then you better be looking for a job.
5. Put others before yourself. Do not skip a team practice to go shopping with friends. If you aren’t at practice there is no one to fill your role like you can. Also, NO MATTER WHAT, rain or shine, your livestock comes first. There is NO “going out” until your horses are put away and fed. In fact, you don’t even feed yourself before your horses. End of story.
6. Remember that your actions speak loudly. People will remember you for your actions and how you accept both victory and defeat. Do both with dignity. Save your pity party for private. Throwing a fit on the court or in the arena only leaves a negative impression on all of those people watching. Remember….. later on, it won’t be about what you know but often who you know. How do you want people to remember you? Also, there is a lil guy or gal out there who wants to be just like you. Promise.
7. Do not place blame. Do not blame your coach, your teammates, yourself, the refs, or your horse for your poor performance or loss. Chances are it was a combination of all of those things. Placing blame makes you look like a whiny brat.
8. Your coach may get upset with you. It is when your coach doesn’t bother yelling that you should be concerned. A coach that cares and sees your potential will occasionally get riled up. Feel good knowing they care enough to bother. Do not take it personal.
9. Your body can do much more than you think is capable. You will experience bumps and bruises throughout your career. You will feel as if you can’t take another step. You can. When you cross that threshold, you will be unstoppable. Spend this time learning the importance of taking care of what God has given you. Eat well, exercise regularly, and rest.
10. What you do in the off season determines your success in the on season….whether it be going out for track to help gain speed and endurance or going outside and shooting hoops or roping the dummy.
These are just the tip of the iceberg for sure. While writing this blog in my head, I was also reminded of something I heard in a conversation between my husband and a friend while discussing the cost of our kids’ activities. His friend said something to the effect of “I can spend the money now on ____________, or years from now on rehab.” Perfect!
Do you have anything to add to my list?
How did you fill in the blank?