Sunday, April 15, 2012

Do Your Best

With the warmer weather of spring we have been spending more time outside. I love the fresh air and the healthy activity level that outside play provides. All at a great price!

In the winter typically it takes 30 plus minutes to get snow pants, boots, hats, gloves, etc on and if it is a cold enough day we are ready to come back inside after about 10-20 minutes of fresh air. In the spring and summer, the neighborhood is filled with kids running around and the hours of play seems to fly by.

This spring the girls received softball helmets and a set of bases from the Easter Bunny. "The bunny" got the wrong size helmets, so the helmets haven't made their debut yet. There are two challenges here. First, finding a place that had a good selection of sizes of pink helmets. Second, how to explain to an inquisitive 4 year old how you set up an exchange with the Easter Bunny!?!?!

This new equipment has led to frequent tee ball games in the back yard. They both love to hit the ball and run the bases. I love to pitch to Lucy, set the tee up for Paige, and chase them around the bases.

Growing up sports was a big part of my life. A lot of great childhood memories were created playing football at recess, shooting hoops with my brother, or playing baseball with extended family on vacations. I am excited to see the girls smiling and laughing while enjoying sports.

As I grew older and played high school sports I developed a real passion and intensity for the sports I played. I wanted to be the best player I could and when competing I wanted to win. I learned many life lessons from the hard work and ups and downs that come with sports.

Knowing that passion and intensity for sports exists in me I have often thought about how that may affect how I coach the girls. It is very important to me that we focus on the fun and doing your best with sports versus the win at all cost mentality that is often seen on TV. Frankly, if you watch enough ESPN the "refuse to lose" attitude is often praised in our sports heroes.

To step back for a moment, the girls are two and four so we aren't at a major crossroads regarding playing for fun or playing to win. It should be 100% focused on fun at their age. At any age it should be fun and even when in competitive situations the focus should be on doing your best versus winning. This concept was confirmed for me when I stumbled across a speech by John Wooden.

When the Internet dries up of interesting things to do I often jump out to Ted (Tech, Entertainment, and Design) is a series of global conferences where, simply put, people present ideas. On this site their are lots of videos of smart people talking about a wide variety of unique topics. This is where I found a speech given by John Wooden on true success. It is a great speech that contains a lot of information regarding life and sports.

John Wooden was a legendary college basketball coach from UCLA. He won multiple national championships and coached the best of the best in college basketball, including Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. In the speech he says, "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best that you are capable of becoming."

When you translate that to a four year old (or a high school kid probably) what it means is do your best! If that is a good enough measure of success for John Wooden, it certainly will be for me as the girls grow and pursue various things.

While we are currently at this stage of sports (Paige hitting video), doing your best will be our top sports motto regardless of what society says about winning and regardless of how well your helmet fits!?!?!?!

Post Script: Another great quote from Wooden in the video, “You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.”

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