What does it take to win in sports?
In the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to witness two of the best high school basketball games I have seen in several years.
Tyler Consolidated put together a strong fourth quarter to come from 10 points down to tie the game and eventually win in double O.T. The boys played hard all night, but when crunch time came they proved you can prevail against the odds with hard work and perseverance.
That never give up attitude will help you accomplish anything you want in life. Winning a basketball game in that fashion proves that high school coaches and their athletes are well prepared. It proves they have commitment, dedication and the ability to work as a team. They have had somewhat of a let down lately, but I say hang in there, work hard, listen to your coaches and most of all don’t give up.
The other game that really caught my attention was the young, undersized and outnumbered Paden City Wildcats valiant effort against a veteran state ranked Bishop Donahue club. Again the “It Factor” came in to play. It took great team effort, it took good solid coaching, it took preparation, it took hard work and knowing what had to be done on the court. To get to that level it takes years of coaching experience and years of practice from the athletes.
Although Paden City never won the contest they certainly raised some eye brows played and proved they can play with some of the states best. When others are ready to quit and go home, the exceptional player will be in the gym working out.
Both of these schools can be proud of their recent performances, they have what it takes to win in sports, and the players are starting to understand that to accomplish goals you have to work hard for them. In games where everyone else tires and struggles, these schools are finding ways to push through that’s what good athletes do they find ways to push through.
What you lack in size and numbers can be made up with heart and determination. When others are ready to quit and go home the exceptional athlete will be in the gym working out. They are the first at practice and the last to leave, they are the ones who are disappointed when the lights are turned off.
Most schools have players like this, but when you get a whole team with the will to win, you have a huge advantage even if you lose.
These two teams made a lot of people proud the past couple weeks. They haven’t won them all but they certainly displayed a desire to do so.
These are kids who want to get better, who are willing to listen to the coaches and block out the negativity. It takes a team effort to be successful in team sports, it takes discipline, work ethic and emotional control. Athletes who are willing to listen and learn will acquire life lessons that will transfer over to other areas of their life
These young athletes performed to their highest standards. They should not be taken lightly regardless of their records. They are capable of winning on any given night. But win or lose you can rest assured they are not quitters, they will fight to the finish and never give up. That my friend is the difference between a winner and a loser.
There is also a difference between loyalty to your team and support for your team. Loyalty is when you stand beside them when they win or lose, support is when you are only there when times are good. It’s kinda like someone who claims to be a Christian. Some devote their life to the cause of Christ while others just live it when things are all well.
I believe our kids deserve both, they are the boys and girls next door. We watched them grow up, we watched them play when it was just play. Now that they are high school students and nearly grown up, they deserve from us what we expect from them and that is the best we have.
Have you ever heard the saying, “That kid is the next Michael Jordan” or “The next Lebron James”? More than likely you have, but chances are we will never have that caliber of athlete in our small area. However, the ones we do have deserve to be treated with the utmost respect.
When we watch our teams it’s not always pretty and sometimes we feel let down but whether they play well or not it is a form of art. When an actor performs in a play or movie they bring a character to life. Some movies are better than others. When we watch a game, the athletes bring that game to life. It’s sports as art form.
I said this last week and I say it again, as and athlete you made a choice to participate in a sport. It takes time, commitment and hard work. You’ll represent your school and classmates, and you’ll learn skills that will prepare you for each game. Just remember it’s not always about who’s the biggest or strongest because strategy and being unpredictable will win games.