A Standing Ovation For The Non Olympians

Hours, months years? Driving, spending, rips and sweat. Hard work ethic for an amazing challenge. One night to prove yourself under pressure most of us have never felt in sports. The athletes who qualified for the recent Olympic Trials are amazing. Special people to be revered for all of the right reasons we start in youth sports. The special few.

But some came up short of their ultimate goal. To write down “Olympic Team” on your To Do List must have been an amazing day and feeling. And to come within a fraction of a second or an inch or a wobble on beam of achieving your amazingly difficult goal has to be almost devastating.

But you all are so incredibly special.

To reach high doesn’t always mean you are going to make it. But for those who dared to reach for challenging goals are all winners because they will grow from the process of working to challenge themselves. The losers are those who don’t try to reach.

This isn’t just about the Olympic Challenge. How about all of those Level 10 gymnasts who worked hard but missed out on qualifying for nationals. Or the 8 year old diver who wanted so desperately to qualify for State, but missed. The Freshman who tried out super hard for the JV wrestling team but was cut on the last day of tryouts. These are champions who set high personal goals, gave it everything they had but fell just short of tears of joy.

If we have the right perspective in youth sports we can see a lot of “Champions” in our gyms and on our teams. The great coaches and parents recognize that the growth of an athlete and person does not depend on putting on the Olympic uniform of their country. It is wonderful to have a “special few” as we saw these past “Olympic Trials Weekends” but thankfully there are so many more amazing accomplishments for each and every ability athlete out there. And the great coaches, parents and teachers will bring achievable challenges into the lives of each and every 7 year old we have the privilege of working with.

We all need to recognize the process and the learning along the way as our ultimate measure of success rather than a gold medal around the neck of a child. Reaching high is absolutely terrific for all of us but winning isn’t necessary to be happy with ourselves. Teach your athletes the important lessons in sports. Reach, work hard, give it your best and enjoy the ride. The top of the awards podium is nice but to live life always with a “podium in sight” is what most of us will grow from. Personal challenges that take us a little out of the “easy” range makes us all better. Teach your young people about that. Tom Burgdorf Gymnet Sports on Facebook

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