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Sports is often times – and frankly, more times than not – a mirror of real life. Lessons to be learned. Everyone, all the time, should be learning. Some lessons we learn overtly. More so, probably, we learn these lessons subconsciously. Sports offers a life-like platform for what it’s like in the outside world…only wrapped up into individual moments in time. Time, in this case, can be defined as a single play, a single game, an entire season, a career – or anything in between. What was learned? What was later applied the next time a young player was in a similar situation? And most importantly – what was taken away from that learning and subsequent application?

As parents and coaches we preach “focus,” “effort,” “hustle”…all the small things that when added up can make a huge difference. Within the Sea Dog Pound – one of our primary goals is to “get better each and every time we’re out on a field.” A large component of that is keeping our emotions in check…baseball is a game of failure. The absolute best the game of baseball has ever seen still failed far more than they succeeded (when it comes to hitting, anyway). Keeping those emotions in check – and the ability to “control the things you can control” – instills in young players invaluable attributes…including the focus, effort and hustle – regardless of the situation, and regardless of the eventual success or failure.

None of this is new. All of this can be stated a million different ways. One of those ways – so astutely and profoundly expressed – comes from a long-since-passed generation, spoken directly by our fine nation’s leader for almost eight years – and, at least in this context, wasn’t even directly tied to sports. But like I stated at the top – often times, more times than not – sports is a mirror of real life.

It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming;
but who does actually strive to do the deeds;
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and
timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

– Theodore Roosevelt

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