I've struggled to simply put a title to this blog post, so perhaps this that I chose "Lesson for Today's Agenda" might inspire me to write more lessons, or simply settle for this one - as it sums it all up! I guess we'll see.
Let me just state this fact first and foremost - what I'm about to write about has to do with high school athletics, a game, not life and death nor an event or events that are going to change the course of someone's life, love or happiness. It's not the most important thing we will do in our lifetime, but perhaps we allow it to be the most important thing we're doing in this moment.
So, in recent weeks we have seen a number of bonehead decisions / choices carried out by a number of our student-athletes. Those choices have cost them the opportunity to be a part of their team, to compete along side them, to fulfill the goals that the team had set, and in some instances cost them the respect of their peers, coaches and community. It's certainly not of any criminal extent in which other programs might have gone through or are going through, but it's important and meaningful nonetheless to us, our program, our teams.
I always ask myself questions when things like this occur and I've found myself asking those very same questions in this instance as well.
(Q) What could we have done better / differently?
(A) Nothing. We can talk, explain, discuss and instill fear into them until we are blue in the face, but we cannot hold their hands when they walk out of this locker room. One that would be quite ackward - kind of like the Volkswagon commercial...the test drive is over, can we head back to the dealership now?
(Q) What about their parents?
(A) Perhaps they're answering the same as we did above, we cannot be everywhere all the time; they have to grow up sometime; they made their bed, they have to sleep in it. I think about my young sons now - I tell them "that's not ok", but I can't stop them from doing it when I'm not around them, I simply have to try to prepare and sometimes react after the fact. Yet, I think about my mom growing up...before cell phones - she seemed to have one of the most extensive GPS Monitoring Systems I've ever experienced before they were even invented - like a honing beacon that was attached to me and my brothers at all times. She knew exactly where I was, when I was there and what I should not have been doing. It was scary amazing!
(Q) But the most meaningful question and the Lesson For Today's Agenda of our youth is WHY?
(A) Our students / student-athletes / youth of today are growing up in a society where they don't believe nor understand that it's not all about you! We have enabled this belief through select and club athletics, where if you don't like a particular piece of the program, you can simply jump ship and find a team or program that is better suited for your agenda. Parents have enabled this belief by simply giving in to their childs requests by simply handing over that new iPhone 57, iPad or even cash - to gain approval or acceptance from our kids without one ounce of responsibility or the thought of you having to "earn" it.
We have failed to educate our students / youth that it's not always going to be about your vision, your dreams, or your goals. That to get the opportunity to pursue your own dreams, you will almost certainly have to succeed in achieving the dreams of others.
That's what being a teammate is all about!
Our youth of today don't appreciate or understand that for most of your life, both personally and professionally you will be asked to champion a vision that you didn't create! Our youth today would much rather ignore it and do their own thing than buy into the vision set by someone else - a coach, teammates, parents, or family. Championship teams and teammates are those that wholeheartedly accept a vision that they personally did not create, their choices and decisions are made in the sense of the team first and not their temporary immediate gratification, and when those championship teams and teammates are around, they are willing and eager to help accomplish the visions and goals of others before their own. Yet it's amazing to see that they wind up accomplishing their own goals along the way.