All sports provide a lesson about competition. Like it or not, competition is the driving force that determines your ultimate success in life. You are either going to be either the hammer or the nail.
Sports bring out natural competitive juices. We all have met people who take competition to an extreme. We have also have met people who do not have a competitive bone in their body. Team competition teaches that it takes every member of the team to pull the rope in the same direction.
In recent years our society has become all about “I” and “me.” According to three prominent high school coaches I visited with last Friday, it has become a consistent problem to motivate players to think about team first. Talented players have been treated as superstar divas since the time they started playing youth sports. It is obviously a big problem when teams rely on every teammate.
High school athletes are now more physically talented. They have modern training techniques and can participate in their chosen sport year round. Young talented high school athletes have been brought up with an emphasis on individual statistics as the road to a scholarship and a chance to make big money. It is no wonder that high school athletes can turn into divas.
If I was still coaching I would hang a sign in the locker room that would read “no divas allowed.” Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is an example of a diva. He is the most overall talented tight end in the NFL. He plays hard all the time and his teammates appear to like playing with him most of the time. However, time and time again Kelce shows his selfishness. It is a trait that has repeatedly hurt the team. He is a role model for high school players.
Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is another selfish player. He has all the ability in the world but is his own worst enemy. He was a star at a very young age and has been made to feel that he is the chosen one. He has become accustomed to doing whatever he chooses off the field.
He does not even try to make a tackle after an interception because he sees no need to be a teammate. He has been enabled since he began playing because he has been seen has an exceptional talent. Both athletes are big names in the sport and most young players want to emulate them.
When it comes to winning championships, selfish players like these are not necessarily the type of players that are a good ingredient. Successful teams are unselfish teams.
Competitive greatness is difficult to attain. What is the definition of competitive greatness? It is being at your best when your best is needed, to possess relentless tenacity, self-control, attention to detail, a spirit of teamwork, great vision, everyday effort and aggressiveness.
When it comes to becoming either the hammer or the nail, even a talented athlete with hammer ability can turn out to be a nail because they become selfish. Good teams know exactly what they stand for as a group. Their beliefs and their actions are in alignment and they work together to reach team goals.
Great teams become a unit of one – from the head coach all the way down to the team manager. Some may laugh but maybe a sign “no divas allowed” might not be a bad idea.
• The number of high school athletes going out for football is down about 30-40 percent this year. The fear of concussions and other injuries has had a negative impact on the game.
• This may be the lowest point of time in history for both the KU and MU football programs. It was just a few years ago when both teams played at Arrowhead Stadium for the No. 1 ranking in the country. The crowd was electric. It is difficult to watch the demise of once proud programs.
• The World Series is just around the corner and I have my money on the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Indians will get it done this year.
• My quote of the week comes from the 32nd President of United States Franklin D. Roosevelt: “People acting together as a group can accomplish things which no individual acting alone could ever hope to bring about.” This is from the man who saved the free world!
– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.