Character Matters

Today’s society is a performance based, get results and get them quick type of environment. Sports are no exception. “D1” seems to be the most important phrase uttered in today’s sports culture and people will do whatever it takes to get there. Now let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with having goals, wanting success and going after what you want — the problem lies within making those things more important than what ultimately lasts longer, character.

Sports help us learn valuable life lessons in a fun, competitive way. However, they were never intended to be the primary focus. As a case in point, only 3% of high school athletes will play at the collegiate level and of those, 0.03% will play at the professional level. These numbers help us put in perspective the purpose of athletics; it should serve as a vehicle to improve the character of young people.

What is character?

Character is belief in who we are as people because of the things we sacrificed in order to prepare. It is having an attitude that views challenges and obstacles as opportunity, not obligation. Character is being disciplined enough to do the little things over and over, to show consistency and a willingness to do things others won’t. Character means giving effort all the time, no matter the task. It means there is a burning desire within a person not just to be great but to do the things necessary to be great. It is leading by example, putting others first and standing up for what is right regardless of what is popular. At Performance Course, our character curriculum is mandatory in every program we run because we believe possessing these 6 qualities — Belief, Attitude, Consistency, Effort, Desire and Leadership — is the true measure of success in athletics.

How many employers do you know that will let you be late for work because they know that you set the single season rushing record in high school? Any of them giving you extra vacation days for running a sub 4.50 in the 40-yard dash? Anyone getting raises because of how many 3 pointers they made in a single game? Obviously, the answer to these questions is no! How many employees get promotions because they work harder than others? How many get raises because their attitude is infectious and no matter what task is asked of them they give great effort and take great pride in doing a good job? How many gain job security because they have been consistent for years and people can count on them? You get the picture. Now apply the same thought process to marriage, being a parent, relationships, overcoming adversity, etc. Let’s not miss the point and get wrapped up in focusing on “is coach playing me enough”, “how many offers do I have” and “yeah we won, but I didn’t get my stats”. When we let performance be the primary focus, we miss the mark. Athletics serve to prepare us for life!

Performing on the field is important without question, but the process that cultivates that performance is far more significant. The founder and editor of the New York Tribune said it best,

“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings, only one thing endures and that is character.”

At the end of the day, being equipped to be successful in life should be the focus of all young athletes and parents. Character MATTERS, let’s make it a priority!