These past months have been a time of adversity, confusion, anxiety, and disappointment. As a guy who works hours each day for the few games a year that I get to take the field, diamond, and court with my brothers, it has been tough to find the positive in all of this. However, there is a blessing in the time this has given me to reflect on the topics of leadership, integrity, character, grit, and teamwork.
Since I moved to this supportive Shenandoah community a few years ago, I have been placed in positions of leadership by my superiors and named captain by my teammates. I am well aware that I have a lot to learn but I believe I’ve been given a perspective that holds truth in that leadership is not it’s own quality or trait. It is a position attained by the respect of peers and superiors that can only be earned through integrity, character, grit, and teamwork. You cannot be a leader when you say motivational words in games but are out late putting your team in jeopardy on a weekend night. You are not a leader because you scored a couple touchdowns but don’t have the humility to pick up the equipment with the freshman at the end of practice. Leaders aren’t guys who hit home runs, yet don’t have the grit to give 100% in each workout rep. A leader doesn’t give his teammates credit to the newspapers, but then turn around and give them the blame behind the locker room doors.
I believe my teammates can testify that I am not one of the most vocal leaders. I’ll share what I have to say when I feel moved, but I speak a lot louder when I refuse those poor decisions that could take away my opportunity to play; even louder when I pick up a practice bag or water tank after a tough work out; even louder when I still have enough left in my body in the fourth quarter because I never took off a rep, and loudest when I take the time to talk to a teammate individually about their successes and shortcomings that day. Anyone who desires the respect of their brothers but doesn’t have the will to do each of these things, just wants the title “Captain” for themselves. Be the person who earns it through the meaningful and selfless actions that pull together a team.