Discover more from The Physical Movement: Play. Lead. Be Strong.
Edition #230: Overcoming Examples Are All Around Us.
The more we share, the more we normalize the ups and downs of sport and life.
When I think of growing up as a young athlete wannabe, I can think of many disappointments.
Not making the team, getting cut more than a few times, even traded as a junior hockey player. That was disappointing to go from a competitive team that was close to home with a group I knew , to a not so competitive team, whom I knew nothing about, that was not so close to home. While most kids don’t get traded, the challenges are a plenty. From the competition not going as planned, not getting the playing time hoped for, not getting the outcome wanted, injuries, and the coaches not being as good as others.
I, for one, never thought of much of the above as being part of the journey or being part of the experience. When the experience did not go as planned, it came with a level of disappointment and self questioning that took a fair amount to deal with (in hindsight).
Today, we know more about the ups and downs of life and how that plays out in youth sport.
Coaches and parents know, or should know, that this is part of the gig.
Almost no one in youth sport escapes challenges and setbacks.
It’s how we deal with them and how we prepare our kids to deal with them that matter.
We get reminders of this everyday if we chose to look and find them.
While we can each relate to our time as athletes, coaches, and parents, I am not so sure we take the time to pass this along to our kids.
2 of these examples popped up this week that exemplifies this very point.
Have you heard of C.J Stroud?
He is the 21 year old first year quarterback for the Houston Texans in the National Football League.
He is absolutely tearing it up and seems like a runaway winner of offensive rookie of the year not even 1/2 way through the season.
What is worth noting is that it is very rare for a first year as a pro to do well at quarterback, often the team leader with tons of on field responsibilities.
Even more rare to do so at 21 where athletes on his team and whom he competes with are significantly older and more experienced.
One would think that such a gifted athlete would have sailed through youth sport and life without a worry in the world. Always the star and focus of attention right ? Doors open at every turn because of his ability on the field right ?
Well, not exactly.
When we look a little deeper we find a young man who lost his dad to prison when he was 13. Not just lost his dad in critical formative years but lost him with the additional weight of being to incarceration. The man who taught him to through and play, all of a sunder was behind bars for a long, long time.
We don’t need to go any deeper if we have kids and/ or coach them.
This is a major challenge that would take down most young people in its path.
CJ Stroud persevered and found some kind of piece and purpose in football.
As he got closer to university, the challenges were not done.
In this age of testing our kids, Stroud was given some kind of “ability rest” to gauge his abilities to be an elite quarterback. He scored low and many schools and later pro teams were dissuaded from investing in him because of this. Not because of what he showed on the field (which was spectacular) but because of some test of “ability”.
Another challenge, but no where enough to slow this athlete down.
You can read more about CJ Stroud’s story below from The Athletic and ESPN.
Do you know Diana Nyad’s story?
I did not know much about her story.
Watched the Netflix doc on her story a couple of days ago and ….well …wow .
Nyad is the marathon swimmer who is the only person to complete the Cuba to Florida swim in 2013 on her 5th try…..at 64 years old!!
5th try ?
When you factor in the degree of difficulty this particular 100 mile swim + pursuing at 64 years old + failing 4 times and dealing with a history that included sexual abuse above many challenges, we develop a real appreciation not only for the quality of the endeavor but the strength of this person.
As someone closing in on 60 years old, I can tell you , I was inspired on multiple levels.
More on the Diana Nyad story below but they do a great job on this film and I think it should be watched with your teenage kids (warning of scenes that deal with sexual abuse)
These are 2 examples, they are all around us. We, as coaches and parents are doing a disservice if we don’t prepare our kids for the setbacks they will face, not only on their journey in youth sport but in life.
We are measured by our ability to preservers through obstacles.
Getting through them, and developing inner strength is one of the best gifts we can pass along to the next generation.
Oh, and adults in the room …this is for you to …
…don’t be so surprised when things don’t go according to plan with Junior.
I see many grown ups act as if violated when challenges are thrown in front of our young ones, instead of treating them as part of the process.
Instead of feeling disrespected, let’s teach perseverance and determination , especially if the kids want to pursue something with gusto.
Encourage don’t baby.
Navigate don’t insulate.
Support don’t prevent.
Enjoy your week !