Character Lasts. Sports Don’t. Part 4 in a 4-part September series.
I read recently that Last May Bill Gates gave a speech titled “11 things your kids will not learn in school.” Looking at his speech, I’d like to rephrase that to “11 things your kids will not learn in school, but could learn in sports.”
Bill Gate’s Rule #1. Life is not fair – get used to it!
In the sports arena, coaches, players, and parents do not always play fair and treat others fairly. It sucks. But that’s the way it is. And if you can learn to play for yourself and for the love of the game and not for the attention or praise, you will learn to ignore what is “unfair”.
Bill Gate’s rule #2:The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
There is often pressure put on athletes to perform and live up to expectations. Is is right? Is it fair? No, but athletes are looked up to and if you, as an athlete, shoulder that responsibility, you will take a big step towards maturity.
Bill Gate’s rule #3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
You will mostly likely never go pro as an athlete and earn millions of dollars of endorsements. You will be lucky to earn a partial scholarship to play in a small college. So don’t act like you are God’s gift to baseball, or football, or whatever your sport is. Honestly, athletes like you come a dime a dozen.
Bill Gate’s rule # 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
If you think your coach is tough, wait until you get a boss. Learn to get along with and respect your coach, it is a valuable lesson that will help you later in life.
Bill Gate’s rule #5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Playing a position that does not get all the glory is not beneath your dignity. Your coach has a different word for it: he calls it teamwork.
Bill Gate’s rule #6:If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
If you mess up on the court or field, it’s not your teammate’s fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Bill Gate’s rule #7:Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
You may think you know more than your coach, but remember he’s been at this longer than you have and even though he may seem boring and hard-nosed, he spends hours of prep time to help you become a better player.
Bill Gate’s rule #8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
On the court and on the field, there are winners and losers. There are kids who win trophies and get extra press and there are those who do not. Get used to it. That’s life.
Bill Gate’s rule #9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Coaches will help you “find yourself” as an athlete as long as it benefits the team. Don’t expect preferential treatment.
Bill Gate’s rule #10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
When you get onto the court or field, you are not in the pros, or even college. You have a lot of work to even have a chance of making it that far. Don’t get cocky.
Bill Gate’s rule #11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
You have a better chance of that than being a sports star. And remember, choose your friends wisely.
Can’t easily dismiss the words of a self-made billionaire. He may have been a nerd and probably didn’t play sports as a kid, but he’s a tougher competitor than many pro athletes. And manages his money a lot better too!