This week I’ve been doing some hand-holding with players and coaches from the Hyde-Bath lacrosse teams. Both the men and women have gotten off to rough starts with some discouraging lopsided defeats.
As far as offering advice, I don’t think I can improve upon a quote attributed to Winston Churchill:
“If you’re going though hell, keep going.”
I can’t say that I have bestowed any lasting pearls of wisdom upon our athletes or coaches. Aside from trying to provide some empathy — To be sure, I’ve been there as both a player and a coach. — I have pretty much stayed focus on a 3-word prescription: “Just keep playing.”
That’s all you can do. As discouraging as these games may seem right now, future challenges and experiences await that will make them seem like the “good old days.” So, if you can hold your head up high in the face of these challenges, you will be just that much better off when the (really) hard times hit.
This advice doesn’t necessarily put the kids at ease. In fact, I suspect that some scoff at it. (Hey, that is the lot of the teacher!) My hope is that some of it enters the brain, then flows to the heart, and ultimately circulates around for a while only to offer strength down the road when it’s most needed.
While a lot of things matter more than athletic contests, sports provide an excellent laboratory to test one’s mettle and develop one’s character. (Exactly what we seek to do at Hyde.) Kind of brings to mind something that another British guy said, a century before Churchill’s time:
“The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton.” – Duke of Wellington
Onward, Malcolm Gauld