Raiders News · A Message From Coach Zimmer


Still Got Grit?

A few years ago, a great philosophical, winning, inspirational, and motivational coach (no, it’s not John Wooden or Phil Jackson)… Todd Salkoski asked his coaches (as Athletic Director) if they had grit, if their players had grit, or if our teams (Shenandoah) had grit. Simply…GOT GRIT? Not only did we have to answer the question, but we had to figure out why/why not and how to improve. In these unsettling and quite frankly, unpredictable times, I will use this question to give you a positive spin on the whole Coronavirus, cancelled sports seasons, disrupted school (still eLearning), and missed opportunities. Still Got Grit?

Why do naturally talented people frequently fail to reach their potential while other far less gifted individuals go on to achieve amazing things? Are they just in the right place at the right time? No, the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent, but a passionate persistence. What are you passionate about? There are great quotes from Henry Ford, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” and Thomas Edison, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” and other inventors who failed more than they succeeded but learned something from every mistake they made and tried again. They are the pure definition of grit. One dictionary defines grit as: passion and perseverance for long-term and meaningful goals. It is the ability to persist in something you feel passionate about and persevere when you face obstacles. This kind of passion is not about intense emotions or infatuation. Where does your emotion lead you today?

Facing obstacles – We can easily point fingers when sports don’t go our way, but what about life in general? Yes, just as easy to try to blame others for our misfortunes. Now, in these current conditions, you didn’t lose the job because of poor performance. You didn’t miss Prom because you couldn’t get a date. You didn’t lose the championship game, because you didn’t even have the chance to play it. Every generation has its own “catastrophe” or burden to bear. For example, The Great Depression, 9/11, any war, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, earthquakes, Stock Market Crash (1929), Chernobyl, and heat waves to name a few. Who do we blame for our current situation? The answer is NO ONE! Move on…Got Grit? Instead of the virus being an obstacle, let’s make it an opportunity creator, a goal shifter, and dream maker. Your choice!

Missing? – What are you missing because of the virus? Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s look at the positives. The majority of people who are teachers, coaches, or goal-oriented student/athletes always want more time…now you have it. I usually start my school year explaining to students that everybody has the same 24 hours in a day to use as they wish, depending on their age (good parents hold curfews and bedtimes). Money doesn’t buy you more hours. Your religion, gender, and ethnicity doesn’t buy you more hours. Choices! You make thousands a day. What do you want to do with your 24 hours? Sleep, eat, and school/work usually fill up much of a day. Practices, if you are a student/athlete, fill up the next biggest chunk of your day. The precious few hours you have left are up to you. Fast-forward to today…majority of people are being asked NOT to work. Schools have been closed. Sports have been cancelled. YOU now have more TIME then you ever have in your life. Time with family! Time to do those projects you always talk about doing. Time for laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Time for reminiscing, scrapbooking, and letter writing. Time to plan. What are your

new goals? Break your goals into 5 categories. 1) Daily goals 2) Weekly Goals 3) Monthly Goals 4) ½ year goals 5) Long-Term Goals. We can’t fret about the daily routine that has been changed, but we can re-adjust our goals and make new plans…positive plans!

As a student-athlete, use your grit to be the best version of you. Take this situation and make the most of it. It may take courage for some of you…be brave! Have confidence in yourself and be the next leader, whether in your family, your neighborhood, your class, or next year’s team. Use your creativity to make videos and share your workouts, stretches, or other helpful “at home” tips for fellow athletes. This is a unique time, but it doesn’t have to be a negative time. Have real conversations with people and express your feelings/emotions. Have a grieving moment, and then move on. Call that distant relative, coach, teacher, or long-lost friend. Forgive people! Ask for forgiveness! Be kind! Pray!

Family First! Coach Zimmer

Coach Thom Zimmer – is currently coaching boys golf at Shenandoah. He has coached numerous sports (boys/girls’ basketball, football, co-ed track) and at several high schools. He is a father of three (ages 21, 19, 16), all SSC students, and married to Deanna (SHS ’93) He is the Guest Services Manager at Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville during the concert season. He currently teaches 5th grade Science/ Social Studies at SES.