Today’s excerpt from Coach Dave: Season One comes from a speech that set this book and book series in motion. It was the best, most timely speech I’ve ever heard. I call the excerpt “A Championship Effort.” Enjoy.[bluebox]
Coach Dave: A Championship Effort
After the post-game handshakes, Coach Dave directed his players to the dugout. As the clock moved past the 11:00 hour, most of the Scarlet Knight fans waited around after the game, hoping for a short speech from the coach. However, Coach Dave had a tall challenge to lay out for his players before sending them home.
“Guys, I am very disappointed in you.” Pointing to the front of his own jersey, he continued, “You did not respect this name that you chose very well tonight. You didn’t fight for each other tonight because in your minds, you had already conceded this game to the Yankees. You had already admitted defeat. They’re a good team, the best in this league. They’ve proven that. But what I need to say to you tonight is not about them. It’s about you.
“You didn’t respect your team and your teammates very well tonight.” Motioning to the fans gathered around the dugout listening in, he said, “You didn’t respect your families and your friends very well tonight, either. They have stayed out until after 11:00 to watch you play. They deserved your best effort, and I think you would admit that they didn’t get anything near that.
“You didn’t respect your team or your families very well. You also didn’t respect this game very well tonight. This is a game that has been played by generations of young men, many of whom have passed on what they have learned about this game and through this game to the next generation. There is a right way to play this game, a way that I have tried to teach you throughout this season. We don’t take shortcuts, and we don’t make excuses. But when we gave up a run on a bad bounce tonight, we gave up. I take full responsibility for not guiding you through that very well. But I need you to know that you didn’t respect the game well tonight.”
Pausing for a deep, contemplative breath, Coach Dave continued, “And, guys, you not only didn’t respect yourselves, your family, or the game of baseball very well, you also didn’t respect your opponents tonight. To you, they’re the big, bad Yankees who dominate every team in this league. They’re the team you seem to get all the bad breaks against, the team that you just can’t do enough to beat. To them, though, you represent the only real competition they have seen in this league. You are the only team that has beaten them, and you have brought out the best in them every time our two teams have played. Except tonight.
“I’m not disappointed that we lost again to the Yankees. I’m disappointed in myself because I didn’t bring out your best effort for you, for your families, for the game of baseball, and for our opponents. I hope that you are disappointed in yourselves, as well. On my way home to get some rest tonight, I’ll be considering every way I can to bring out your best effort tomorrow afternoon against the Hawks as we try to win this tournament. I hope you will all do the same and that you won’t give up the opportunity we still have to win a championship. But it’s going to take a championship effort, the best the Scarlet Knights have to offer.”
Takeaway from “A Championship Effort”
What do you have in front of you–outside of baseball–that will take a championship effort, the best you have to offer?[bluebox]
Al Ainsworth is the author of six books: