Scoreboards are like mirrors, sometimes they can be deceptive. Mirrors reflect what is on the outside and hide inner strength and beauty. Scoreboards reflect final scores but often hide the real value of sports. While society is quick to judge and places more value on the outward appearance, we all know there is more to the story. Mirrors and scoreboards don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story either.
Just because your team is having a losing season it doesn’t mean you’re a loser. Our team is in the midst of a losing season record wise. We play a tough schedule, have lost three upperclassmen during the season, and start three underclassmen. We’ve lost several close games against older, more experienced teams. We make no excuses, but also realize and understand the bigger picture. We play to win, and hurt when we don’t, but remain focused on building champions on and off the court.
A few weeks ago I held one-on-one meetings with our players and was very encouraged by them. In meeting with one of our two seniors on the team, I was particularly impressed by our discussion. I actually got goosebumps during our conversation. When I asked her how’s the season going from your perspective? She responded with, “It’s been fun. I honestly don’t believe we don’t have more wins right now.”
We focus and teach the value of self-improvement. Our goal is to get better one day at a time. We to want focus on one quarter, one half, one game at a time. I got goosebumps when this player said, “I don’t think we’ve lost that much because we’re (and I am) focused on playing our best and playing present.” While we may not always do that, it was extremely encouraging to hear a player repeat to you what you have been stressing to them.
Talent wins a lot of the time. But when you combine character with talent, you can win big. And that’s the road we are traveling on. We’ve built the character foundation (and will continue to do so) and are working hard to improve in our talent and ability. The scoreboard and win-loss record is not always reflective of what’s truly within a team. As a coach, hearing a player say those words back to me gave me a feeling of a win. It felt just as good to hear those words as it did after a win.
Here are a few of the other things the scoreboard doesn’t show:
Improvement. The scoreboard or win-loss record doesn’t always reflect the true level of improvement that is taking place. Ultimately, the number one goal is to improve every day. As an individual and a team the goal should be to improve by 1% each day. Small gains over a long time equal big results. Teams often have a difficult schedule, injuries, youth and inexperience, or mid to low talent levels. But the true measure of a team’s success should come from it’s improvement.
Heart. It’s tough to get up and get back at after a tough loss or a series of tough losses. It’s easy to put a label on a team from someone on the outside looking in at a team’s record. They look at the scores and the total record. But they do not see the heart shown by the player’s. They do not see the determination and resolve it takes to go through the grind of a season. Coaching and playing with heart can be difficult at times, but it’s impossible to measure it on the scoreboard.
Love. Sometimes in life the winner isn’t always the one who comes in first. This is true in sports as well. An extremely talented team may win a state championship and everyone thinks they’ve had the best season. No doubt it was great, but it may not be the most successful. Something I’ve come to realize during my 12 years of coaching at the high school level, is that some of the best coaching and most successful teams don’t necessarily come from teams with the most wins. Does the team truly care for one another? Did they improve? Do they play with love in their hearts? Do they sacrifice for their teammates and play for one another? You can’t have success without love.
Pride. Having personal pride should not come from the scoreboard. Pride should come from doing your best to become the best you can be every single day. Life and sports are a roller coaster. One day or year you’re on top of the mountain, and the next you’re going through valleys. As long as you hold true to your values, principles, and continue to work hard every day, you deserve the right to be proud. Pride is like a muscle. The more you fail and continue to get up and get after at it, the more resolve you have. As you continue to do this, you develop an inner pride that no individual or scoreboard can take away.
What are some other intangibles do you believe exist which the scoreboard doesn’t always show? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
As always, thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.