Most Valuable Player is our first thought.
It's an award or recognition received by one individual for their value to their team.
In order to be in a position for that consideration, I think we need to look deeper.
An award is the fruit.
But for fruit to be on the vine, there must be roots that create it.
#TheMVPLife roots are:
Mental. Verbal. Physical.
To be mentally aware, and verbally articulate, so that they are physically able.
Athletically, Academically, and Socially.
The strongest players understand that their value isn't found in simply what they do in their sport alone. It's how they approach their academics. It's involvement in relationship building and community service both locally and globally.
All that being said, there is something I find very interesting that gets overlooked in the conversation surrounding MVP's. It's part of the DNA of the player that gets "it", has "it", and leads others because of their "it".
Here "it" is:
They know they are Value Able (valuable) because they don't seek VALIDation.
They don't need anyone to tell them they are valid.
They know WHO they are. They are comfortable with WHO they are. They don't crave or need anyone else's validation of WHO they are. They approach every second of everything they tackle as the person they are.
That common characteristic seems to be prevalent in most MVP candidates.
Validation is a trap that trips up the most well-intentioned person. That is true regardless if we are talking about sports, or any other venture in life.
So the next time you have a student-athlete, employee, kid at home, colleague, etc...that seems distracted by the award, help them dig deeper to make sure the roots are healthy that create the fruit they desire.
If they are, they won't need anyone's validation.
The award will be an honor, but not a necessity.
They know and understand that being declared the MVP is a nicety, not a necessity.
If someone you know is seeking the award as validation of their game?
Walk with them so they learn their value based on WHO they are, not what they receive. Help them understand they are VALUE-ABLE based on their "WHO". That will help them understand they don't need VALIDATION based on someone else's opinion.
"...it MAY BE that..."
The best gift we can give our student-athletes isn't one award to one person. It's the every day reminder to all of them that they are unique, gifted, talented, and well able. That they have a specific calling on their lives. That it is our greatest joy to help them realize that, find it, and celebrate them when they do.
We may hand out one MVP award at the end of any given season.
We can hand out the seeds that create that fruit in every interaction, every day.
What the player does with them will determine what grows from them.
And one last thing for the coaches out there...
Don't leave them to farm the land by themselves.
Every great farmer had a mentor.
That's our job.