My mother once told me “Athletics can either be the best or the worst thing in someone’s life”. Now my mother is definitely not the John Wooden of her generation (although she did ride the pine on a state championship team) but she is a pretty sharp cookie and she has hit the nail right on the head with this one. So what are the factors that make or break the experience associated with athletics? As an athlete some are out of your control like you coach, other players, other parents, etc. But the biggest is in your control…Attitude. It is vitally important to realize the factors that are out of your control and not stress about them. Just worry about what you CAN control and go from there. You must understand the concept of “team”, if you go into athletics with a “me vs. the world” attitude you will only find that the world is quite a bit larger and typically more over powering than you may have expected. Instead go into it with an “us vs. the world” attitude, thinking of your team as bonded together by a common goal (to win). This can be what turns good teams into champions. Parents, coaches, and unfortunately sometime other players can interfere with this bond but they can only affect it if they are allowed to. I have witnessed this first hand, coaches pitting player against player, parents pitting their child against child, and players against players. I have lost friendships over basketball but strangely gained those friendships back through basketball. It is strange but most of the unethical behavior associated with athletics does not come from the partially mature athletes but from their “role models”. It is sad but true, sports at any level has a great deal of politics, wither its pee wee football or the Super Bowl… But just remember your attitude and how you respond to it is what can make you a champion.
– Coach Castellaw