A little determination can go a long way...

I thought I’d write about determination. Determination is kind of a funny concept. It’s around us all the time – from the person who drags their sleepy body out of bed at 5am to workout before going into the office to the person who works 3 jobs just to feed his family – but lots of times we don’t even notice it. When we do though, it is a thing of beauty.

I had the opportunity to be a coach for my daughters traveling softball team this summer. It was a “10 and under” team, so, many of the girls were pretty new to the game. In the beginning of the year they had their typical struggles – not only on the diamond, but, also trying to relate to each other as a team. The “team” concept was kind of new to many of the girls.

I don’t know that there was anything “mystical” about this season other than the fact that they went from an “ordinary team” to an “extraordinary team” when it counted. They had been playing well throughout the season, each player improving individually and the team improving as a whole. However, in the state tournament I noticed a change in each girl.

The thing that was impressive to me is that when I think of big games or series, there is usually someone who would be worthy of the MVP. That wasn’t the case for this team in the state tournament. Yes, there were girls that played their typical high level of softball, but, there were game-changing plays by every single one of the 13 girls on that team throughout the tournament. At the start of the tournament, the changed I noticed was that girls, as a whole, were more determined than ever. Together they decided that now was the time that they would peak and that it was time for 13 girls to come together as 1 team. That was their common theme throughout the tournament – 13 for 1…13 girls for 1 team, 13 girls for 1 win, 13 girls for 1 championship. It was really a spectacular thing to watch and a sight to behold. The older girls made huge plays…the younger girls made huge plays. In the end, their motto really held true – 13 for 1.

They did win the State Championship this year going 5-0 in the tournament and they went on to finish 13th in the national tournament. Not only did they learn a little about softball, but, they also taught this coach a little something about determination along the way.

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Comment by Jason Garey on October 22, 2009 at 5:48pm
Great story, Mike. My wife and I are struggling to get our 13 year son involved in a team activity. He says he hates sports. We've considered forcing him to take one up, but don't want him to drive him further away. We're looking at some other activities that instill the same values and ideals. We're also concerned about his weight. He's been struggling with a soft middle for 3-4 years. Helping him in that regard may end up coming in a different form. Of course, a team sport has the potential to cure a lot of these things at once. But is forcing him the right approach? We've tried to determine what's really behind his dislike and we've not come up with anything solid...yet. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated. Thanks Coach !! :) Jason

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