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Current Issues, Tips for Parents

Thank you Brandi Chastain - The Value of Adversity

Steve Locker reacts to an excellent article (Brandi Chastain - Letter to My Younger Self ) that includes some insightful thoughts on how patience, humility, gratitude, teamwork and family were some of her keys to success in '99.  The article was published on July, 7th by The Players Tribune.

Steve's thoughts are below:

Thank you Brandi Chastain for this incredible lesson in the value of adversity in athletics. Ms. Chastain has magnificently created a hindsight view of her career and how she has grown and developed through the many bouts of adversity and setbacks that beset her career, and ultimately led her to become one of the most memorable soccer players in American sports.

Too often in today’s dysfunctional sports culture we look at adversity as a cause for quitting, instead of as the impetus for a greater level of persistence. “Oh, I’m not going to make the starting lineup on this team, I’ll just quit and transfer to a different team.” We often find ourselves seeking alternatives when our primary target doesn’t seem achievable. I recently heard one mom lament that her daughter would probably quit if she didn’t make the top JV team in her freshman year of high school volleyball.

There is a mentality afoot that wants nothing to do with paying the high price that true success commands. There are many reasons why so many kids are quitting sports at such young ages; crazy parents, even crazier coaches, too much competition, and on and on. The truly amazing benefits of sports doesn’t really start to take effect until we get older, and are forced to deal with the real setbacks that sports present. Mental toughness isn’t honed as a 9 or 10 year old. But with 75% of all kids quitting by the age of 13, these poor kids never get the opportunity to learn about “true” adversity.

There is a very valuable lesson to be learned here. Let’s make youth sports about fun, so that children have a chance to develop “real” passion. That way, when they begin to face adversity, they have a reason to see it through and not be so quick to walk away. Don’t bubble wrap your kid, and don’t be so quick to come to their rescue when things don’t go their way. Help them learn how to navigate their participation in a positive manner, and it will be really awesome to watch them overcome defeat.

-Steve Locker

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