A lot of sweat, sun, sore muscles, joy, fun, and new friendships—that’s the start of fall sports season at Colorado Academy in a nutshell. This past August, through many hours of hard work, determination, and diligence, student-athletes were selected and placed on particular teams reflecting their effort, attitude, and skill level. I enjoy helping our program leaders identify attributes in players that may help the team, while keeping in mind the needs of the individual. As one famous college basketball coach said, “I would rather have a two-star recruit with four-star effort and attitude, rather than the opposite.”
Athletic competition certainly doesn’t always work out the way we would like it to. That’s the beauty of sport—the better team doesn’t always win. The team that puts in the sincere work prior to a contest usually puts itself in a better position for success, but sometimes this just isn’t the case. Sometimes the ball bounces funny, sometimes a call is missed, sometimes it’s just plain bad luck. Many times the group comes up short, or as some people say, “We didn’t lose, we just ran out of time.” Any way you slice it, the game results are invaluable lessons in grace, humility, and reflection.
The slogan on the back of our athletic practice T-shirts this year is: COMPETE. EVERYDAY. And WIN THE DAY. Both statements deal with incremental successes, a positive mindset, and a selfless attitude. Neither statement has anything to do with contest outcomes and is definitely not a “win at all cost” mentality.
Director of CA Field Hockey Veronica Scott likes to tell players, “according to the philosopher Aristotle, ‘we are what we repeatedly do.’ Excellence then is not an act but a HABIT. Instead of winning the championship, focus on just ‘winning the day.’ It comes down to controlling the little things.”
Head of CA Girls Soccer and Boys Soccer Assistant Coach Sean Stedeford describes the discipline needed to focus on the tangibles that are in one’s control, like being an encouraging teammate, having a selfless approach, embracing a positive attitude, and letting go of some of the pieces that are beyond one’s control.
Jerry Lynch, renowned sports psychologist who has worked with CA coaches and athletes, tells us, “the simple goal reminds us to live, play, and compete each day as if we were champions. If you were champions, how would you show up today at practice, at the game? Simply do your best to be your best, so you position yourself for extraordinary things to happen.”
We need to be able to teach our kids how to respond, because we will win our fair share of contests and championships at CA, and we will lose some heartbreakers. The discipline to do your best, to constantly show up and put yourself and your teammates in a position to achieve extraordinary results, is what CA athletics and CA coaches ask of CA athletes. I hope to see you all at a contest this fall. Check the CA website for contest dates and times.