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Life Lessons

A Story of Commitment

“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.” ~ Lou Holtz

Lacrosse coach Paul Edwards left a comment the other day, asking the difference between a promise and a commitment. Here is a story:

One day the chicken ran excitedly through the barnyard, and stopped to spread the news to the pig.

“We’re all having bacon and eggs for breakfast tomorrow, and I’ve promised them an egg,” the chicken said.

But it was obvious that the pig did not share the chicken’s enthusiasm.

“What’s the matter,” the chicken asked. “Bacon and eggs are delicious.”

“Maybe they’re delicious,” answered the pig. “But for you the eggs are a donation. For me, the bacon is a full commitment.”

So some people make donations. Others give everything they have.

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Scott Illiano exemplifies everything that is good about coaching. You can see it in the comments he made recently after gaining his 200th career victory. Illiano, who coaches at West Essex High School in northern New Jersey, was interviewed by a local web site. This is part of what he said:

“I feel very humbled to have the opportunity to do what I love and to help young kids in their development in a game as great as baseball. As gratifying as it feels, to me it is more about the people involved in the process. From my assistant coaches who are like family to me, to the relationships that I’ve built with my players both past and present, to the mutual respect and rapport that I share with opposing coaches from rival schools, it’s really about people. What is especially gratifying is that one of my assistants, Joe Cardinale, was the first player to congratulate me after my 100th victory in 2003, and today he is a fulltime teacher, and also giving back as a coach. While he happens to be a great example right in front of me, there are countless other alumni behind him, too many to name actually, that have given us feedback that the experiences they have had with us have helped them in their adult lives. That’s really what it’s all about.”

The values that Illiano describes — loyalty, teamwork, respect — are being transmitted to dozens of young people. That is coaching.


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