Matt Yeager, a good friend of mine, just wrote a book which is in the process of being published. It's called Sport Rules. I had the privilege of reading some of the chapters from the book in a book summary which Matt had given me to read. It is very well done!
While sports have a tendency to bring out the worst in people, the overriding purpose of this book is to use athletics as a way to teach life lessons from a Biblical perspective. Each chapter is short and to the point but filled with great content for athletes of any age, coaches and parents.
One chapter in particular really caught my attention. The chapter is titled, "Embrace Your Role." Here is an excerpt:
A number of years ago there was a gifted young man who played tight end at the University of Toledo. Andrew (Dakota) Clarke was a special player. at the end of his junior year, he was in position to break a number of school receiving records and was the #3 rated tight end in the country. everything was going well and an imminent NFL career was in his future.
Suddenly, everything changed about a week after the season ended. He was sitting in the football team room during a meeting and as he leaned back in his chair, it broke and he fell to the ground. Everyone in the room laughed, including Dakota, and the meeting continued. The next morning, however, Dakota had a shooting pain in his back that prevented him from getting out of bed.
Eight months later the pain continued to plague him, resulting in a medical red shirt for the following season. A year later he still had not seen much improvement and was able to participate in about 20 plays during his final season.
During those last two years of his career I never heard him complain about his situation. On the sidelines, he became the biggest cheerleader of his teammates and won their respect by his engagement in the team's success. He was a valuable asset to his teammates and his coaches.
Dakota embraced his role. When he was a leader on the field, he performed to the best of his ability. When he was sidelined, he became a leader from the team bench.
...An athlete's impact is more than their contributions in competition. Dakota lined up for 20 plays over two years and still made a huge impact on his team. In fact, at the team banquet, he was the only senior to receive a standing ovation from his teammates.
Don't underestimate the value of what you can contribute. Whatever your role is, embrace it and maximize it.