Speed, Power, or Character: What Exactly Are We Developing?


I have a confession to make…

I got frustrated last week.

Two athletes were racing to a cone, and when one realized he wasn’t going to win, he just stopped. Never even crossed the cone.

I wasn’t frustrated with the kid. I was frustrated with his choice. I was frustrated that he quit

In the grand scheme of things, we don’t control much in our lives. But we can own our actions and attitude.

External circumstances can influence us. I don’t discount that.

But at the end of the day all we are truly in control of is ourselves.

I asked him what happened. He said “I wasn’t going to win.” He looked defeated.

Winning isn’t the point. Giving your best is the point. Becoming your best is the point.

I told him that even though he wasn’t going to win, he still could have finished with great effort. The nod he gave showed he agreed.

Something inside told me this was an important teaching moment. I could have not said a word and accepted his poor effort and defeated attitude.

If I had stayed silent, I would have done the same thing the athlete did…quit. Inaction would have been me quitting on that child. It would have been easier, but it would have been wrong.

It would not have been my best, and it would have made me a hypocrite. 

Is that the kind of example I want to set for my athletes? Is that the kind of father I want to be to my own children?

Absolutely not.

I asked him to line back up and re-do the sprint, this time by himself. 

He ran his heart out. 

I was proud.

But more importantly, I think he was proud. Proud of what he had just done: his absolute best.

Character is developed through hardship. Training and sport provide a safe place to experience controlled hardship. When life throws a real curve ball at you, will you respond by quitting before you reach the cone, or will you run your heart out and let the chips fall where they may?

Here’s to keeping your shoes laced tight, your mind sharp, and your will unbreakable.

What more could we want for our kids?