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Beating the Odds

The Lessons of Adversity

Today’s post comes courtesy of a friend whose daughter was injured early in her first college basketball season. She received a note of encouragement from a family friend, someone who also had a daughter suffer an injury. Note how this pep talk emphasizes not only basketball, but the wider issues of responding to adversity. It deserves a place up on my gym wall and perhaps yours, too.

Dear (Player),

“You’ve always been a tough player, driving down the middle, getting knocked down time after time and getting back up and sinking the foul shots like there was nothing to it. Now’s the time when you have to prove how tough you can be recovering from this crazy injury.

“It’s easy to work hard when things are going good, but it takes a tough mind and a dedicated type to work hard through the upcoming months of rehab. But the reward at the end is great. It’s knowing that you worked hard and beat the odds and knowing that you have the guts to do it that makes you a tough kid. And I know you are one.

“This is the lesson that parents hope sports teaches kids. Not that winning is everything, but rather how to learn lessons from adversity; from dealing with end-of-game pressure, which relates to dealing with deadlines at your job, to handling playing on a so-so team, learning how to deal with the fact that maybe we all can’t work for a big company when we grow up, to playing with kids who think they are better than you, how to deal with co-workers who think they are hot stuff and how to prove them wrong, to dealing with injuries, maybe proving to yourself you can work long hours day after day to get a job done and proving that you really are a tough enough to hack it in the big time.

“The lessons from sports are enormous and this latest roadblock is just another lesson for you.  I know you can handle it and come back stronger than ever.”


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