The Road ahead or the Road Behind
I think the fates must grin,
as we denounce them and insist,
The only reason we can't win
is the fates themselves have missed.
Yet, there lives on the ancient claim-
We win or lose within ourselves,
The shining trophies on our shelves can
Never win tomorrow's game.
So you and I know deeper down,
There is a chance to win the crown,
But when we fail to give our best,
We simply haven't met the test
Of giving all and saving none,
Until the game is really won.
Of showing what is meant by grit,
Of playing through not letting up,
It's bearing down that wins the cup.
Of taking it and taking more
Until we gain the winning score
Of dreaming there's a goal ahead,
Of hoping when our dream are dead,
Of praying when our hopes have fled.
Yet, losing, not afraid to fall,
If bravely we have given all,
For who can ask more of a man [or woman!],
Than giving all within its span,
That giving all, it seems to me,
is not so far from victory
And so the fates are seldom wrong,
No matter how they twist and wind;
It's you and I who make our fates,
We open up or close the gates
On the Road Ahead or the Road Behind
From the Responsible Sports eNewsletter:
A local hockey association outside Toronto issued a warning to all players and teams: “anyone found to be disrespectful while shaking hands will be dealt with by the organization's discipline and ethics committee.” The issue: a group of players– ages 11 and 12– were aggressively hitting or tapping their opponents’ gloves. The issue is by no means unique to hockey. In youth soccer matches, the ‘good game’ hand-slap at the end of the game can sometimes be so hard as to hurt an opponent’s hand. And sadly, it’s not just the athletes involved in this type of misbehavior. Highlight reels captured a coach tripping an opposing player during the handshake lineup. While teams are going through the motions of respecting their opponents, clearly the mindset and emotion are not quite what we all intended. So this month, we turned to the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance to ask: what exactly can and should we do to respect our opponents?
When we play games at our fields, our DBGS Rules apply. We always abide by other leagues' rules when we play on their fields. Managers and coaches should always take a moment to remind opposing, visiting managers about our league rules (or learn about the other leagues' rules) when meeting at home plate just prior to game time.
Taken from Candrea on Coaching, a monthly softball-related newsletter from an Olympic softball coach...On behalf of the Amateur Softball Association, welcome to the August issue of the ACE Coach monthly email from ASA Director of Coaching Education and two-time Olympic Coach Mike Candrea: Candrea on Coaching. As a youth sports coach, you naturally want to prepare your team to win as many games as possible, and as a Responsible Coach, you want to prepare your players to win off the field, too. The Liberty Mutual Responsible Sports program is proud to bring you this series in which Coach Candrea will provide you with coaching tips and resources that you can use for the betterment of your youth softball team.
Professionalism – A Code of Conduct
As I travel back from a very memorable trip to New York where I had the opportunity to experience a weekend with the New York Yankees, I thought I would share with you some observations of arguably the most successful franchise in professional sports. It is hard to imagine the wealth of success (27 World Championships) and a tradition that defines the sport. Walking through the offices and seeing pictures of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, and Mickey Mantle (my idol growing up), and all the great players that have worn the uniform, must be quite the challenge for today’s Yankees to live up to the expectations of fans from every generation possible. The one thing I could feel from everyone that I had a chance to visit with from coaches, players, and front office was the sense of pride and obligation that went with representing the New York Yankee organization.
As I have the opportunity to watch many softball games during the summer, I always like to focus on the programs that ultimately find a way to position themselves for a chance to compete for a National Championship. Believe it or not, many of the teams have the same qualities as the New York Yankees, although at a different level. What are these qualities that separate the good from the great? Yes, the Yankee’s are quite wealthy and are not scared to spend money to get the best players. Although, after my trip, it is obvious that these players must also be a good fit and embrace the code of conduct and professionalism set by the organization. These same expectations can be seen in a few softball organizations today – which are exciting to see.
I had the opportunity to visit with a former Arizona Wildcat and now the hitting coach for the New York Yankees, Kevin Long and really hear about what kind of people these great athletes are. I wanted to know what kind of a teammate they were, work ethic, preparation, discipline etc. A laundry list of what we try to instill in our players and kids. The answers I received were exciting and confirmed the qualities of true professionals. There is a reason why these players are in the major leagues and continue to stay at that level. I imagine your job can be a great motivator when you have that kind of money at stake.
This excerpt was taken from the book “The Checklist Manifesto” written by Atul Gawande and speaks about learned occupations. A tremendous lesson derived from being on a team and striving for success understanding that it does prepare you for success after softball.
“All learned occupations have a definition of professionalism, a code of conduct. It is where they spell out their ideals and duties. The codes are sometimes stated, sometimes understood. But they all have at least three common elements.
First is an expectation of selflessness: that we who accept responsibility for others – whether we are doctors, lawyers, teachers, public authorities, soldiers, parents, or pilots – will place the needs and concerns of those who depend on us above our own.
Second is an expectation of skill: that we will aim for excellence in our knowledge and expertise.
Third is an expectation of trustworthiness: that we will be responsible in our personal behavior toward our charges.
Aviators, however add a fourth expectation, discipline: discipline in following prudent procedures and in functioning with others.”
Sound familiar? These are the necessary qualities that we look for in any good organization, team, player, coach or parent. This is a quick check list for reducing failure and being a functional member of the team. Are we teaching our players to be true professionals – even though we know that they will go Pro in something other than softball?
Until next month!
Borrowed from responsiblesports.com
In recent weeks, we’ve been wondering: what happened to humility in sports?When did pride in athletic accomplishment tip the scales to no longer Honor The Game? This past month, examples of a lack of humility have made the sports headlines: Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo’s ‘verbal swipe’ at opposing Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas saying he could have stopped the winning goal that Thomas missed. What happened to winning with grace? The Dallas Mavericks’ DeShawn Stevenson publically saying that LeBron James had ‘checked out’ of the end of Game 4. Since when do athletes criticize the level of effort of an opponent? Don’t misunderstand us: having pride in yourself as an athlete and your accomplishments is an extremely important part of what sports delivers. But not at the expense of our opponents and the game itself.
This month we explore: how do you have pride and still Honor The Game?
Thanks to the experts at Positive Coaching Alliance, we know that an essential part of upholding the values of a Responsible Sports environment within youth sports is about Honoring The Game. Respecting the Rules, Officials, Opponents, Teammates and Self. (Using the ROOTS acronym helps to remember the five principles.)
None of us like to lose, but learning how to handle wins with humility and losses with dignity are great lessons that youth sports can teach our kids. So how can you help inject some humility and good sportsmanship into your child’s youth sports experience?
1. Admit your own mistakes. We all know that kids mimic the adults in their lives. At an early age you learn this lesson when a slip of the tongue is repeated by your toddler. But just because the mimicking isn’t as obvious in older years doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Kids who see their parents admit mistakes and demonstrate the ability to move forward will more likely adopt the same approach themselves.
2. Provide much-needed perspective. “It’s only a game.” Easy to say when you are in the stands and not the one who suffered the loss (although it’s not easy for all parents). But your perspective on the relative importance of the moment is critical to helping your child view the game in proper perspective. Help them reframe losses so that they do not dwell on what went wrong, but begin looking at what they can learn, work on and improve.
3. Redefine winning and losing. Start with redefining winning not as the scoreboard, but as their ability to give 100% effort, learn as much as possible and move forward from mistakes. Redefine losing too; losing is not defined by the scoreboard results but by letting yourself and teammates through sub-par effort, by not learning from the experience so that you can improve in the future and by any violation of ROOTS.
4. Celebrate wins and losses. You might be saying all the right things, but your nonverbal communication might be sending the opposite message. Are you cheering from the stands both when things are going well and when they are not? Are you heading out for ice cream after the game only when your son wins? Do you brag on Facebook only when your daughter’s team has won? Find a way to ‘celebrate’ the accomplishments of your son or daughter regardless of the result on the scoreboard. Ice cream for mastering a new technique and successfully using it in a game. Facebook posts with a video clip of outstanding defense. And consistent encouragement from the stands letting them know you believe in them.
5. Honor – don’t degrade – the opponent. You wouldn’t have a game were it not for the other side. And as an athlete, you don’t have a chance to rise to your best without strong competition. There is no better way to reinforce this message with your child than to practice the same principle. Avoid making negative comments about the opposing coach or ‘calling out’ an athlete from another team in your game debrief. And, even in an effort to bolster your child, don’t say that she would have saved the shot that the opposing goalie missed.
As we bemoan the degradation of humility in professional sports, we have only to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask whether or not we are teaching our kids – the future adult athletes - to show that humility. One of our jobs as Responsible Sports Parents and Responsible Coaches who teach our kids life lessons through youth sports is to help them develop the ability to win and lose with dignity and to respect the game at all times, regardless of the outcome.
Tell us – how do you help youth athletes learn humility when they win and dignity when they lose? Share with us your strategies, techniques and helpful tips. Join us at www.facebook.com/responsiblesports and weigh in!
All things current and DBGS!