Leave It On The Field
By John Wheller
A common expression I often hear before a big match or tournament is, “leave it on the field!: It’s understandable that athletes would want to give it their all, to it all out there when the big game or tournament or tryout comes along. When I coached high school soccer, I can remember hearing, “leave it on the field,” from my players before the last game of the season – it used to make me want to cuss.
Leave it on the field… tonight? Where in the world was that sentiment at the start of the season or halfway through league-play?
I’ve since realized that “leaving it on the field” isn’t like flipping a light switch. That effort and intensity doesn’t just turn “on” right when you need it. Instead, it’s an attitude – something that needs to be cultivated throughout one’s season and career.
Apollo Creed was right – “there is no tomorrow!” He’d been helping Rocky train to get another title bout in Rocky III – and the former champ had just informed Apollo that he’d “work hard tomorrow.” There’s a pervasive mentality in middle-class athletes that there’s always going to be another game, another shot, another chance to prove oneself. This I’ll-Do-It-Tomorrow-Mentality bleeds intensity and ambition dry.
Figure out what “leaving it on the field” looks like. If today was the last time you would play your sport – what would your last game look like? What – specifically – would we see? “I’m going to play hard” doesn’t cut it. Get specific. This gives you a better, clearer picture of just what it means to “leave it on the field”
Don’t wait until the end of the season to “leave it on the field.” Imagine an athlete or a team truly dedicated to “leaving it on the field” from the start of a season. They recognize that tomorrow is promised to no one. Consequently, they appreciate each opportunity to give their best effort and intensity at each practice and competition. That’s an athlete or team, win or lose, that won’t look back and ask, “what if…”
Effort and intensity doesn’t just turn “on” right when you need it. Instead, it’s an attitude – something that needs to be cultivated throughout one’s season and career. If you work hard, you’ll see the results.
Making an Impact
Watching the Rockies lose night after night might seem like punishment to some. For others, six-hour, 90-mile training rides on a bicycle would seem like suffering. Jerry Schemmel does both, but he considers both to be blessings. The Rockies radio announcer is training to hold up his end of a two-man team in the Race Across America (RAAM), a seven-day transcontinental bike race beginning June 20. Schemmel will be paired with Brad Cooper, who has completed seven Ironman triathlons, on the ride that begins in Oceanside, Calif., and ends in Annapolis, Md. Schemmel rides because surviving the crash landing of an airliner that killed 112 people in 1989 gave him a new perspective on life. He’s doing the Race Across America to raise funds for a Christian charity that will build an orphanage in Haiti. Nice job Jerry!
In Another’s Words
“Leadership – leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses.”
– Mitt Romney