By Guest Blogger Matt Sagar
I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a moment that I had been waiting for since making the varsity squad. We were the home team with the 3rd ranked high school team in the country coming for a visit. Butterflies, stomach in knots, I saw my name on the starters board for the pre-game talk. What?! A starter?! I can’t describe the feeling that came over me. All of the hard work and waiting had finally paid off. Finally, my confidence was at an all time high, which showed in my performance that night! From a team perspective, we lost by a slight margin of 5 points to the third ranked team in the country. As a player, the start and overall performance sparked a competitive edge that I had never felt before. I was dubbed a starter and competing with student athletes committed to programs like Georgetown, Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia Tech, George Mason, and Clemson. Yet, the new competitive edge and overall confidence was not confined on the court.
It is amazing how confidence can transform just about anyone or anything. Whether you are a high school basketball star, a professional NBA team, or a Fortune 500 company, confidence in your ability to perform is what drives competition and accomplishes goals. When I finally got my starting position, the game played out just the way I wanted it to as a player. As a team, that is a different story. Every shot I took was going in, done deal! It was a mind set that I remember distinctly, and frankly, still carry with me to this day with all of my endeavors. Yet, sparking confidence is a lot easier said than done. Why is it that across the country and across the world there are kids and young adults that can hit 25 foot jump shots almost automatically, but can’t solve an equation on a test? Why is it that A+ students can breeze through their homework and tests, but struggle on the athletic playing field where they want to make it? Where all they want is just that one chance to prove he or she can play! Now, there are a lot of factors that have to be considered when it comes to a developing basketball player or a growing student. But, confidence should never have to lack in either part. The development of a successful team and athletes starts with confidence. There has to be that trust and bond between players and coaches, as well as students and teachers. Too many times, there are athletes and students that fall apart simply because they believe they can’t (I know by experience, because I have been through many scenarios where I just wanted to quit because I found my task to be impossible).
Failure is inevitable, but it is not the final decision that deems things to be “impossible.” Still, many students and athletes alike lose confidence and give up when they lose a game, can’t make their free throws, fail a chemistry exam, or think the coach doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Playing the third ranked team in the nation, yes, we lost, but it was an experience that changed how I thought of myself and the team. It was a time for everyone on the team to bounce back from the loss and get back to work. After a hard fought game against a highly ranked team, we knew we could play with the best! As a student, I have struggled on occasion with some tests and exams, but still managed to work hard, believe in myself, and graduate from a prestigious institution. “Impossible” should never be part of a young student-athletes vocabulary nor part of a developing team. As Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Confidence creates ambition. MJ would not have been the player he was without his confidence and the championship teams would not be called champions without confidence in each other. Great ambitions rule the world and Crossover is here to develop young student-athletes to have confidence in the pursuit of passions and desires on and off the basketball court.
Whatever you want to be can be done. So….
What do you want to accomplish today?