The two worst words in sports are potential and expectations.
A really good word to have in sports that somehow is taboo—failure.
“This team has the potential to go 15-0 and win the state championship.”
That does not get said inside the locker room. It’s always in someone’s kitchen or on a car ride.
Potential as a noun: Something that can develop or become actual.
Two major words there—can and become.
Potential as an adjective: Capable of development into actuality.
A lot of things have to go right for potential to become reality.
Yes, it happens. But not as often as you would think.
Potential has a shelf life.
“She has the potential to be an A student.”
“He can be so much better than what he is.”
“She should be a starter.”
“He could be a great leader.”
That’s all negative.
“Life is too short to spend in negativity. So, I have made a conscious effort to not be where I don’t want to be.” — Hugh Dillon.
Expectations are a mess because of outside noise.
“I expect this team to make the playoffs. There’s no reason why that can’t happen.”
Well, there’s 100 reasons why that may not happen.
“How’d we lose this game? The other team is not
Expectations are based too much on intangibles.
Expectations also include playing time and everything that comes with that avenue of thinking.
The playing time expectation goes in three directions—coach, player and parents. I’ll make a small wager that, for the most part, those three are not of the same mindset.
“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.” — Stephen Hawking.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” — Bruce Lee.
“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” — William Shakespeare.
“If you align expectations with reality, you will never be disappointed.” — Terrell Owens.
Failure gets looked at incorrectly.
Failure is abundant in sports. It’s how teams and individuals get better.
A failed serve. A failed at-bat. A failed free throw. The list is rather long.
It’s not a player failure. It’s a failure in that act. And not one athlete fails on purpose. If they do, that’s a different level of conversation between the coach and player and parents.
Failure is inevitable.
Hard work does not ensure success, but it sure does make success easier to attain.
I watched my son go 0-for-13 from the free throw line during a high school summer league basketball game.
When he was walking to the line for his 10th or 11th attempt, I said in my dad voice, “Close your eyes. It can’t hurt.”
He laughed. Everyone in the gym laughed.
It’s been eight years and we still laugh about it.
It sure wasn’t easy for him to go through. He didn’t miss 13 in a row on purpose.
Failure produces a reality check, gives you opportunities and builds character.
One must embrace failure and challenge the same.
Failure identifies weaknesses, humbles, provides wisdom and compassion, and, most importantly, is not permanent.
And just like the bench, failure is a great teacher.
You ever heard this: “This team will win states.”
Or: “This team is better than the team that won states two years ago.”
Do you know how hard it is to win a championship on any level?
A long list of things must go right in order to do such a thing.
And if your team doesn’t win a state championship, what does that team do the following year?
You lace them up and try it again.
What happens after your team wins a state championship?
You lace them up and try it again.
Those three are intertwined a lot more than we think.
People tend to talk to themselves out loud in a positive voice, but when it’s all in their minds, that inner voice turns negative rather quickly.
Please, always keep this image with you: Negativity is hanging off a cliff and positivity has both hands ready to pull negativity up.
Is it easier for positivity to pull negativity up or for negativity to pull positivity down? ￼