Throughout my speaking career, one word has peppered the message I give to the many student-athletes I meet when visiting high schools and universities: discipline. Too often, this word and its value in a life are taken for granted. For a long time, I didn’t understand the value of discipline and structure, and how these concepts could affect my life for positive change. Many of our students in the Lost Zone To me this word is too often taken for granted, and its value to one’s life. I never understood the value of discipline and structure in how it could affect my life for positive change. In our society, many of our students are lost and the disconnect doesn’t just affect them, it affects everyone around them, including the amazing blessed athletic talents that each of our kids has. Many of our student-athletes are more focused on their talents instead of their grades when it should be the other way around. What has to happen to our sports industry from the little leagues all the up to the professional leagues? We are failing to instill the true value of teamwork when it comes to the development of today’s student-athlete. I feel strongly that when our kids understand discipline in making good decisions on & off the field, they will see the key to being successful in life, and recognizing when opportunities arise in their own life that promote great decisions that support their talents.
You can have all the talent in the world, but without discipline, you will struggle in life.
Recently I met my new great friend, Mr. Clint Hortman, who is the Asst. Athletic Director at Calvary Baptist Academy in Haughton, Louisiana; we talked about our student-athletes and the value to their own community and families. This gentleman is working very hard to raise funds for their football club, all while helping these young men to see the great value beyond sports, and the importance of teamwork. What is teamwork? How do we teach our young people the value of teamwork? I think teamwork is a group of individuals that work together as one for the better outcome of success in their mission. Only then can we teach our youth teamwork, by providing love and discipline as a model for them. Teamwork for a football team is making sure each member of the team is successful on and off the field, and having an access to an accountability partner that helps each other out when things are going good or bad at home, at school, and on the field. It’s disheartening to see our professional athletes “role models” struggling with discipline in their own lives. It saddens me to turn on ESPN and read about 2 professional athletes like Cleveland Browns Wide Receiver Josh Gordon, a recent Pro Bowl Selection, arrested for an alleged DWI, and former Detroit Lions Wide Receiver Titus Young, arrested on an alleged felony charge and the list can go on. I am not concerned about how long the list, I am more concerned about how can we as a society help to shorten that list, by helping our youth understand their value in life is not just sports. It is their Life! Live life like there is not a tomorrow and value life as if you appreciate tomorrow. Winning in life, means you are winning within yourself. We as parents, we have to do better, because we are not setting the standards at home. I hear too many stories of student-athletes skipping school, doing drugs and struggling with behavioral problems in the classroom, yet they still are allowed to play in the games. To me, this is where we lose because we care more about winning than about setting a strong foundation at the home, built on integrity in being honest with ourselves. We allow these students to play in games when they should be suspended or working to get their grades up; we are setting them up for disappointment and failure in the long run of life. But alas there is hope in life, and we can make our community better by having an accountability system in place at home, school, and on the field. Let’s all work together so all of our student-athletes are winners straight across the board. There are plenty of games to play, but there is only one life to gain. #ChangeIfICanYouCan