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Always a good reminder.

Give it Everything You've Got 

Summer baseball is in full swing, but I’m still trying to find some time to watch the thousands of athletes compete in the Olympics.  Seems like any channel I put on I see outstanding athletes competing for their countries and hoping to represent them as best as possible.  For most athletes, just being labeled an Olympian for the rest of their lives is enough reward for all the sacrifices that they have made to get to where they are now.  For others, they will do anything for the opportunity to stand on that medal stand and see their countries flag be raised for them. Regardless of whether a medal is won, these athletes get the opportunity to compete,  and one thing they all share is an unbelievable work ethic. 


Some athletes sacrificed more than others.  Some athletes had to move away from their families for 11 months out of the year to train.  I saw on one particular program the other night where an athlete had only been home for 19 days since 1999. To me, that’s a bit much, but I was in awe of the dedication that some took to becoming the best.  Now, for the athletes that play here, whatever age you are, ask yourself, “Am I working to my highest potential?”


Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said, “Many athletes have tremendous G-d –given gifts…Who are these individuals?  You have never heard of them and you never will.”  Think about that- what does that mean?


If you’re reading this post, you’re probably a member of Next Level Baseball.  You’re either a parent or a player.  Both parties are so important to the success of the athlete.  Parents are their childs' first teachers, coaches and mentors.  If children come from a place where the people surrounding them work hard and succeed, those ideals will become normal for the child. 


I was taught an important lesson when I was about 13 years old that helped shape me into the athlete that I wanted to become.  I had practice after school and on weekends and at that age had to always depend upon my parents to drive me.  Mostly it was my mother.  I never realized how much she really did for me until I was an adult.  I watch all of the parents shuffling their kids all over the place and realize how much time and effort one puts in for their child to be successful. One Saturday morning I had practice and my mom came in to wake me up and apparently I was too tired to get up.  I gave my mom a hard time and she finally said, "I’m not arguing with you to get you up," and she left.  I missed practice and of course wanted to blame her.  Later that day she said to me, “I’m not forcing you to do anything.  You have to make a choice.  If you want to go to all the practices and wake up early that’s fine.  Set your alarm clock and wake me up when you’re ready to go.”  At that point I really had to ask myself, “Is this what I want?”  And I realized it was.  I wanted to do everything I could to reach my highest potential.  I wanted to work hard and be as successful as I possibly could be.  But it was a choice that I made.  From that day on I started to take control of what I really wanted.  I wanted to be the best.


To become successful it’s not just about what you can accomplish on a baseball field or in a gym.  It’s your belief in knowing what you want. It’s putting in maximum effort when you don’t think you can give anymore.  It’s preparing your body, both physically and mentally to perform at the highest level. 


In the upcoming days you’ll see some amazing Olympians competing.  You’ll see Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history, and Neymar, a Brazilian soccer player whose making a global name for himself.  They play three different sports in three different parts of the world.  What they all have in common is a desire to be the best, the dedication and commitment to be the best, and determination to succeed and to overcome the failures and road blocks that they will face.  Right now, ask yourself if you truly believe you are putting in the work necessary to accomplish your highest goals, whatever they may be.


Let’s go back to the quote from John Wooden,  “Many athletes have tremendous G-d –given gifts…Who are these individuals?  You have never heard of them and you never will.” 


You’ll never hear of those athletes because they never put the work in to become the best. They didn’t have the desire, dedication and determination to become what their potential allowed for…


Work hard, discipline yourselves and make the decision to accomplish your highest goals.


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