What It Takes to  Be a Champion

What It Takes to Be a Champion

I was lucky enough to be able to follow the Newcastle Ladycats for a small portion of their regular season and the end to their near-perfect season that culminated in a State Championship title.

The Ladycats are the first female team in Young County to claim a state championship, pretty incredible for a mostly freshman team with no seniors on the starting lineup.

The weekend in San Antonio watching these young ladies fulfill a dream that will be one of their most cherished memories got me thinking about what makes a championship team or a champion.

It takes more than being the fastest, the strongest, the smartest or even the most dedicated. Certainly, it takes more than just wanting it or dreaming of it.

Being a champion, I believe, starts in the heart. Without heart, the rest is useless because passion is what will drive you to keep going on your worst losses and hardest days.

It takes grit, the reaching down and pulling something out to finish and continue when there is nothing left in the tank, to keep fighting even when the odds say you will lose. It takes drive and commitment, the drive that while everyone is out playing and having fun you are spending hours in the gym, track or court putting in the equity of sweat that pays dividends deep into a season.

It takes a family, not relatives but a brotherhood or sisterhood that can only be earned through the bonds forged from going through something with a team – picking each other up when they fall, giving a good yelling-at when they need it, a laugh or a shoulder when needed, going through a crucible of two-a-day on the court or field all summer or fall, playing for that brother or sister next to you.

A key component to any great champion is a great coach, the ones who scream at you when you mess up, give you the tools to be successful, the knowledge and information. That coach that is working 80 hours a week but most will only see him working 2 to 4 hours a week at a game.

A coach that has an ear to listen and wisdom to mentor, a shoulder to lean on. A great coach is a father or mother to those that have none at times and maybe a provider of a meal to a player who goes without.

The coach is the most valuable player at all times and will make or break a season. There is much more I am sure I missed but for me these are the things that can help make a champion. Champions are also humble and always there for the team, win or lose.

This is Will B saying, have you hugged a coach today?