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Life Lessons

Being a Gamer

Recently, athletic director Todd Smith of the Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, N.J., addressed a group of seventh- and eighth-grade student-athletes and challenged them to be “gamers.” Coaches use this term often, but what does it mean? Coach Smith laid out a powerful definition that is a challenge to all student-athletes — and coaches (remember, coaches better be gamers, too).

Here’s what Coach Smith said:

“A ‘gamer’ is an athlete who wants the ball when no one else wants it. When the game is on the line and when everyone is watching and when everything is going to come down to their arm, their bat or their shot … they want the ball. A ‘gamer’ is the kind of kid who lives for that moment and revels in it. It’s a relentless attitude to compete no matter what the score is, no matter the outcome. It’s practicing when no one else is practicing and when no one is watching. It’s doing the extras to help your team win no matter what is asked of you. It’s showing up early and leaving late from practice. It’s driving your teammates to expect more from themselves and from each other. It’s taking responsibility for tough losses and not pointing your fingers at others. It’s about crying when you realize there’s not another shot to be taken, another pitch to be thrown, and another game to be played.”


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