52

As the person who is in charge of hiring for my district, I come across a lot of email addresses. A good portion of these email addresses have numbers in them. Every time I see an email with a number, it makes me wonder what’s the significance? I realize that some are just random numbers that were assigned when the person signed up for the account. However I think for a good portion of these people that number has some significance.

I am one of those people with a number in my email address. The number 52 is not a random number assigned when I signed up for my account. It is my jersey number from my days playing college football at Hampton Sydney College.

I know a lot of people will say, “Oh, he’s one of those guys, who can’t let go of past glory days.” True, but more important to me is the fact that this number reminds me every day all of the things that sports taught me growing up that I think are really important for the development of every generation of young men and women.

Sports taught me:

  • Failure – I probably lost more games than I won. Sports taught me that there is always another game, another season to prepare for. If you live inside your head for two long, perseverating on a loss, then you will end up losing next week.
  • Resilience – the old adage you can’t win them all is certainly true. So after a loss or a failure, what do you do? Well. You learn from your mistakes and keep going.
  • Grit – Angela Duckworth in her book of the same name, defines grit as passion and perseverance. It is so much easier to keep going when you love what you are doing. It also helps to have other passionate people around you for support.
  • Teamwork – No one achieves success in sports or life by themselves. We rely on our teammates to pick us up when we are down and vice versa.

Unfortunately due to our current situation, sports have been shut down. As educators we are trying to continue the learning the best we can, but the fields of play have gone silent. I would say that 50% of what I learned, that has made me successful, has been from sports. As we move forward to a new “normal,” let’s not forget the impact that sports have in young people’s lives in preparing them to be the leaders of the future. Let’s make sure that they can get back out on the field as soon as it is safe.