Take your child, the athlete, for instance. No matter his age or ability level, I’m sure you hope he’ll be successful, both in striving to reach his own potential and in competition with others. So what will determine whether or not your dream becomes a reality? Will it be determined by what he chooses to do in his moments of convenience? Of course not. Everyone will choose well then, and your child will, too – when he feels good and he’s gotten plenty of sleep. When there’s nothing else in life to give his time or attention to. When circumstances line up in his favor and everything’s going his way. Any athlete can be great when things are convenient.
Instead, whether or not your child becomes a champion will more likely be determined by the level to which he’s willing to be inconvenienced. Will he be willing to do the necessary work when he doesn’t feel good, or when he hasn’t gotten enough sleep? When he’s got other things vying for his time, tempting him to blow off today’s work and take a well deserved break instead? Or when the circumstances of life seem to have turned against him, and nothing in the world is going right? His choices in those moments will determine who your child becomes. The ordinary athlete will do the work when things are quick and easy, but the ordinary athlete won’t be inconvenienced. That’s where the champion separates himself. It’s what makes him extraordinary. It’s where his level of care and his commitment to excellence are most evidently seen.
The same is true, of course, for the champion sports parent. It’s no different for us, working to raise champion athletes and people, than it is in any other area: any sports parent can be great when it’s convenient. Everyone chooses well then – when they feel good and they’ve gotten plenty of sleep. When there’s nothing else in life to give their time or energy to, or when circumstances line up in their favor and everything’s going their way. It’s easy to go throw in the backyard, or rebound in the driveway, or stay late for extra practice when it’s convenient. When it’s easy, everyone will show up early, have a great attitude, and work to help their child get better. As they say, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
But being a champion sports parent isn’t easy because being a champion sports parent is rarely convenient. The champion sports parent separates himself from everyone else by a unique willingness to be inconvenienced. He’s throwing in the backyard, rebounding in the driveway, or staying late for extra practice today even though he doesn’t feel good or hasn’t gotten enough sleep. He’s showing up early and having a great attitude even though there are a million other things – with work, with finances, with relationships, you name it – that he’s required to give his time and energy to. He’s working tirelessly to help his child get better today even though the circumstances of life seem to have turned against him, and it feels like nothing in the world is going his way. This parent has separated himself from the rest, and it’s in these moments that his level of care and his commitment to excellence are most evidently seen.