Usually you see me writing about the Pitcher and Catcher relationship or something along the lines of a catching aspect in here, but this article is something that I believe every athlete should read let alone softball player. It has to do with something that I believe can be lost very easily in this day and age with Athletics, not just by the players, but by coaches, parents, administration, and fans. It is Respect, Respect for the Game, and Respect for Your Game.
I used to be big on rules, I thought that the more rules you incorporated the easier it would be to keep the athletes out of trouble and the easier it would be to enforce them. Still being young yet experienced in the game and the coaching world I have come to the realization that you really only need one rule and that can cover just about everything involved with your sport and enforcement. Its called Respect. Not just Respect your coach, or respect your family, or school, or teammates. Respect the Game.
If you truly Respect the Game and get an understanding of the history and all the hard work people before you put in to get it to where its at you will truly grow to love your sport. When that happens you will do whatever it takes to get the most out of your potential and truly appreciate the opportunity you get to be a participant everyday. Respecting the game has so many meaning while it may be such a simple phrase.
When I think of Respecting the game, I think of a 39 year old Derek Jeter who has nothing to prove to anybody yet going 100% up the line until that ball is caught and called out on a routine ground ball. I think of Coaches like Coach K and Jim Boeheim of Duke And Syracuse who have been involved in their sports and at the top of the history books in wins yet are still putting in the hours to get even better well into their 60's. I think of Peyton Manning who spends countless hours in the film room dissecting his opponent for the next week so he is fully prepared.
But it is not only professionals. They have a God given gift but they work so hard to maintain that gift and sustain it for a long prosperous career. But I also think of the 12 year old kid who just had a 2 hour practice and wants to go hit later at the batting cage, and the 100 degree days where a girl is in the heat shooting a basketball instead of in the house with the AC on blast staying cool. That is all Respect for the Game.
I feel that there is way too much entitlement in this day in age not only in professional sports but college as well. Being content and settling on the level you are at or resting and taking a play off because the game is in hand, or simply losing that fire because you may have won the title the year before. That is not Respecting the Game. True character comes out when nobody is watching. When the stands are empty and nobody sees you what are you doing to better your game.
Respecting the Game is not about just better your own physical and mental game, it is helping your teammates. Every person on a team plays a role and without that role the team cannot reach its potential. Every rep you take off is disrespecting your time, your teammates time and your coaches time. Everything that you do says something so be prepared to make a statement with every action.
Coaches, do not rest on the knowledge that you have right now, the game is ever changing and you can learn things from not only coaches at a higher level or coaches with more experience but you can learn from lower level coaches and beginners. Everyone has a different outlook and everyone sees the game a little bit differently so never be too big to take a second to learn, or take that extra minute to have a conversation. That is Respecting the Game.
Players, never take it for granted, every rep is important and will affect the outcome of your performance. You have to put in the energy so you might as well make the most out of it. Complete every rep in your workouts and then do one more. Play for yourself and the alumni that paved the way and the players 50 years ago who without them maybe this sport would not be around.
Fans, Parents, Administration, the game is about the people that are playing, it is not about you or what is best for you. You are all there to support the athletes and support the Whatever the sport is you are involved in, Respect it. Respect the process. Respect the players. Respect the Coaches. And most importantly Respect yourself. If you just think to yourself is this Respecting the game or did I respect the game today, than the rest will take care of itself and your goals and aspirations will be taken care of from there on out.
Programs, do that, and do that positively. The parents have raised the athletes and the Administration has hired the coaches. Let the people that were put in place do the job they were intended on doing. The games are exciting, so much work is put in, Respect the Game by supporting, and supporting is so much more than merely being in attendance at an event.