Uncommon people doing uncommon things
I talk in this column a lot about my faith in God and how that gets me through way more than I could on my own.
I talk a lot about how the world must be changed through us and our relationship with God and how that affects those we touch in our daily lives.
That, for most of us, is done through sports.
And, recently, there have been a lot of people in the news in the professional sports world and little of it good.
We walk into any sporting event knowing someone will win and someone will lose.
What we don’t know is how things in that sporting event will affect us or those around us.
What we don’t know is which adult will cross the line and be kicked out of the sporting event.
What we don’t know is which adult will become so incensed with the “obvious” wrongdoings of others and how their kid is being “cheated.”
We know the reaction because we all have seen it.
And, for the most part, there is a really good chance we can place a wager on which adult will snap.
There is a pattern there.
That is, unfortunately, becoming a common occurrence in high school and youth sporting events.
It’s time to be uncommon.
If you haven’t ready Tony Dungy’s books, I suggest the reads.
“When Jim Irsay called me five years ago, he told me, “I want you to be our coach and help us win the Super Bowl.’ He told me, ‘We are going to win it the right way. We are going to win it with great guys; win it with class and dignity. We are going to win it in a way that will make Indianapolis proud,” – Dungy from “Quiet Strength”
Dungy’s second book, “Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance” talks about character and that it matters.
What matters is how we do things; adversity is inevitable and conforming to the world does not show courage.
So, I ask you, if you take the aforementioned paragraph and translate it to your world, what does it mean.
What is common in my world is adults reacting in childish manners when it comes to sports.
“My child is better than the co-defensive player of the year.”
“My child deserves …”
“How dare you sit my child in the state championship game.”
I have said it before and will say it again, how many parents, if their child heads to the military, are going to call up the brass and say, “Please put my child on the front line. Please put my child in the starting lineup in the middle of all the action.”
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
It’s time for us to be uncommon so our children will follow.
On and off the court.
In the stands.
In the classroom.
In the office.
In the workplace.
In the store.
In the weight room.
In the locker room.
As a parent.
As a grandparent.
As an athlete.
As a coach.
As a teacher.
As an administrator.
As the band leader.
As an elected official.
In their heydays, do you want your child to be Barry Sanders or Deion Sanders; Shawn Kemp or A.C. Green; Mariano Rivera or Steve Howe; Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf?
How does uncommon character develop?
What is in the best interest of the team or school very well may not be in the best interest of the child, and that’s OK.
Honey Boo Boo, team mom, dance moms and Friday Night Tykes cannot be the norm.
How do we raise the bar for our children in every aspect of life?
We raise the bar for them as we raise the bar for ourselves.
We cannot allow them to think the bar is too high and lower it for them.
The bar is high for a reason and that reason is for us to help them clear it.
That is not done by bailing them out of every situation.
That is not done by fighting for them with coaches or teaches when they are clearly in the wrong.
When I got poor grades, it had nothing to do with the person leading the class.
When I told the basketball official he was No. 1 and embarrassed my mother to no end, it had nothing to do with the official. It was all me and my mother never backed me on my actions.
If we lower the bar, what are we telling our children?
Once those teenagers clear the bar, when do we then do with the bar?
We raise it again.
We must teach our children truth and humility.
But, we can’t reach it if we don’t have it.
Are the principles we own as adults understood by our children?
Proverbs 27:17 said, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
We must sharpen each other.
We must sharpen our children.
It is our jobs as adults/parents/teachers/coaches/mentors to teach our children how to be successful and that has nothing to do with what’s on the scoreboard.
Please do not define success as: being kicked out of a high school gymnasium; asking the teacher for extra credit work for your child after that same child has not done all the assigned work; or making excuses because your child missed weightlifting for the fourth time in six days.
We must demand excellence from each other and from our children.
Success is standing your ground.
Success is showing that morals count.
Success is raising the bar and making it be reached.
Success is loving children hard because life is hard.
Success is knowing that sitting on bench still means you are part of a team.
Making your child quit the team because they are sitting the bench is not success.
Success is knowing the spirit of truth, where it comes from and how to disseminate it.
Success is sowing the seed and watering it.
Do not be the troll on social media who rips someone it’s available.
That is not common.
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike)