Winning comes from a place far deeper than simply making the choice to play a game.
A head-level decision must be met with a heart-level commitment.
That consistency, over time, is what separates those who are true competitors from mere players. It's what it means to have the heart of a champion.
I have a friend who has won multiple state championships as a coach. I could spend an entire blog writing about all of his accolades, and those of his staff and student-athletes. It's incredibly impressive.
I ran into him as he was beginning this past season, right after his team lost a game. Something he said in his post-game press meeting really stuck with me. I'll paraphrase his sentiments. It went something like this: "We came to play today, just not compete."
Think about that for a moment.
Anyone can suit up for the game. They can take the field, court, or whatever surface the game is to be played on, and well...play the game. But that only requires a head-level decision. My friend was saying that if his team was to be successful, it would take far more than that. They would need to compete. That...that is a heart-level commitment.
Competing means you give your all no matter what. You find a way to get the job done. Not just game to game. Sometimes it's down to second to second. Reaching deep inside to bring the very best you have to a contest you aren't sure you can win, but will go down fighting with every ounce of what you bring as your try.
I know A LOT of student-athletes who LOVE the idea of winning. But it's doing the hard work of competing that separates the ideation athletes from the implementation champions.
Do you want to improve? Compete.
Do you want your team to be successful? Compete.
Do you want your community to be proud of you? Compete.
And don't stop once you leave the game. Bring that same vigor to your classwork, and to your community service.
Be the student-athlete that makes a heart-level commitment to their athletics, academics, and community involvement.
That is the heart of a champion!
Don't just enter the field, classroom, or world today.