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Champ Value #3

posted Oct 26, 2011, 6:55 AM by Ray Hughes   [ updated Oct 26, 2011, 7:54 AM by Pam Nelson ]
Week 3 (Oct 24)- "Compassion and Competition" - Every Champ Cares for Others

Story of the Week: (By: Larry Dierker and Ray Hughes)

One of the first things we need to learn about competition is that mutual respect is paramount in any sport. Sure, we all want to win, but sometimes we lose. It’s not always because we fail to perform well. Sometimes the other player or team just performs better. Just as you expect your opponent to know you are worthy, you should give him that measure of respect in return. 

One time this was demonstrated by one of the best baseball players who ever lived -- Willie Mays. Willie was playing center field at Candlestick Park in San Francisco when Dodgers’ catcher Johnny Roseboro threw the ball back to the pitcher. The batter, Juan Marichal, thought the throw came too close to his head and he thought Roseboro did it on purpose. Acting on instinct, and without thinking, he hit Roseboro over the head with his bat.  Both teams immediately rushed into battle, but Roseboro was stunned and was wobbling on his feet. Mays sprinted in from center and instead of taking up the fight with his teammates, he ran straight to Roseboro, took him by the arm, and led him to the dugout, where he stayed, consoling his opponent until the brawl ended. This act of compassion transcended everything else that was happening on the field. Even after all these years, whenever I talk to someone who was there at the time, the thing they remember most is Mays protecting Roseboro as if he were his own son.  We don’t want to brag too much about our good games or react in anger as Marichal did.  We want to be the same caring, respectful people all the time -- on and off the field.

Following every game, we shake hands with our opponents.  Most of us don't think about why we do this or where the tradition began.  Part of shaking hands with the other team is a way for us to thank our opponents for helping us to become better.  When you say "good game" you are practicing our last value of sportsmanship, but you are also thanking the other team for helping you become a better player.  It's easy to think that the other team is our enemy.  But true champs see the game of baseball as a way to grow as a person and to help others grow as well.  When we are on the field, our goal is to score more runs than the other team.  But, the way that we play matters even more than the score on the scoreboard.

Questions of the Week:

What is the definition of a compassion?

def: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

How has someone else shown compassion toward you and how did that make you feel?

Why do you think it is important to show compassion for others?  What do we learn, and how do we act differently when we stop to think about the feelings of others? 

How does compassion work in a competitive environment in which you have competitors you are trying to beat?

Coaches, depending on the age of your players, this is a great time to begin helping your players have a better understanding of healthy competition and how practice and games are an opportunity for everyone to get better.  Respecting our opponents doesn't mean we don't want to win the game, but it does mean that we don't see winning the game as an opportunity to humiliate our opponents.  In fact, healthy competition is a great way for both the winners and losers to improve.  At a deeper level, giving our all in competition is going to improve our opponents as well as ourselves.  The Latin root of the word competition is "com" meaning together and "petere" meaning to strive for.  So, competition in its right form, is two opponents together, striving toward a goal.  The result is that both improve.  Please see Chapter 9, "Just Win Baby", in Joe Ehrmann's book Inside Out Coaching.  This Chapter can be read here if you do not have a copy of the book.

Champ of the Week

Coaches, celebrate a way you have seen someone on the team embody the virtue of empathy.  Talk about a way on your team that caring for others is important.  Award the player(s) who have embodied this value as "Champ of the Week".

Close by having a player or a coach lead the team in a prayer. Pray that your team will practice empathy by thinking about how our actions can affect others in either positive or negative ways.  Pray that God helps you to all grow together as you strive toward the goals that are ahead of you as a team.