The Winning Truth

By: Doug Sarant
| Published 03/25/2024


THE WOODLANDS, TX -- One Sunday not long ago, I was meeting a 7th grade lacrosse goalie for a lesson at the McCullough Junior High School practice fields. I was early so I set up the goal and sat down beside a tree. Next to the tree was a folded piece of paper that I picked up and started reading. At the top of the page was a title,

"The Winning Truth."

After reading it, I couldn't believe I had picked up this masterpiece next to a tree. I could go to Barnes and Noble in search of the greatest quotes of all time and wouldn't be able to top those I'd just found written on a scrap of litter.

It was an inspirational note detailing what the winning truth really is. Obviously, it was distributed by a cross country coach. I didn't recognize the name, so I don't know if it was a junior high coach from McCullough or an opponent's school. That's not important. What is important is that this coach is in charge of the type athletes who can understand what a message like this means, except of course, for the one that left it for me to find.

Read this message and tell me if you think this coach is teaching proper values to a team of competitive athletes.

The Winning Truth

  • Believe there is always a way.
  • Don't tell me what we don't have, tell me what we have.
  • Never make excuses - anyone and everyone does that - if you need to make an excuse-look in the mirror.
  • Champions train early in the morning and late at night when no one is watching.
  • Quitting is the easiest thing to do - it requires no effort but simply walking away. (I will never quit)
  • Striving to Win is the most important thing. (Anything else is an excuse from a loser)
  • I will have no mercy for my opponent.
  • I will always fight to the end.
  • I do believe.

That was followed by a short note from the coach:

"Good luck today. You can do it, go out there and push yourself! Compete to the best of your ability and never quit. Believe and achieve. Reach for the stars. Run hard, run smooth, run fast, run relaxed, hurry back!!"

Tell me you wouldn't run a personal best for this coach. If you think it's too much about winning and not enough about sportsmanship, you just don't get it.

First of all, the kids being coached here are past the "in it just for fun" stage. The big picture is coaching your kids so they compete to the best of their ability. Get it or go home, give 110 percent. Then, regardless if you come in first or 101st, you can look in the mirror and know you did your best. Somebody may have beaten you, but you didn't lose. (There is a difference.)

Like I pointed out, I don't know this coach. That isn't important, what is important is that this coach knows what they are doing.
This isn't the type of information you'd give a kid in elementary or intermediate school. Hopefully, sometime after that point, and the sooner the better, they would be able to read it and "get it". When they get it, they will most assuredly be more successful at anything they choose to do than the athletes who look at it and say, "huh?"

If you're out and see a piece of paper on the ground, pick it up. It could very well be something very valuable.

By the way, the goalie I trained after I read "The Winning Truth" got the workout of his life!

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