2006: Issue 20
For Game or Glory
For the past several years, one of my best teachers has been my son Shawn. He was blessed with some natural athletic talent that he has honed and demonstrated in many venues, particularly on the football field and basketball court, receiving many honors and accolades from coaches, fellow teammates and fans. To a greater degree than I had realized, Shawn had become accustomed to “seeing his name in lights”…until this year; his senior year, the one that supposedly “really counts” when it comes to realizing his goal of playing football in college.
Had you asked me this time last year if Shawn played for the game or the glory, I would have told you without hesitation, the game. For reasons beyond my total understanding, he loves playing the game of football. Yes, we all like seeing his picture in the paper or watching him on Friday night highlights, but if all that went away, I believed he would still be out there, playing with heart. The reality was that he had not faced that test for game or glory, until this football season, when it appears his satisfaction will be totally dependent on his gut desire to play the game, to be a member of the team, no matter the glory.
As a parent, I’d love to re-write this script and have his senior season be the one he/we had envisioned, the pinnacle of his high school sports career, for at times Shawn’s emotional pain has been palpable. As a professional coach, I can foresee the long term, life benefit to him of this experience much more so than if the script was playing out as we had envisioned. Shawn is learning what it means to go inside himself and find the motivation to give it his all, to do his very best each and every play, no matter the outside reward. He will know that if the opportunity does arise to play at his university of choice, he will be doing it because of his heartfelt desire to play the game with his fellow teammates, and because of his own self derived and tested confidence that he can. And that will be all the glory he needs.
From my personal life experience and my work as a coach, I see that it is actually the experiences of game in spite of glory that have the greatest potential to positively impact our life. It is during these times that it is our decision to make, and ours only. Period.
Founded in 2003 and based in Roanoke, Virginia, Extra Ordinary Living works with individuals, organizations and teams to identify possibilities, create opportunities, remove obstacles and through deliberate action, optimize results.
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