In the sport’s world we hear many talks about character and we should have those talks. Sometimes the message can be watered down through what causes coaches to have that conversation. Sometimes it comes after poor sportsmanship, talking back to the coach, coming in late to workouts or breaking some program rule.
These are important conversations to have when planned out. What is important though is that the athlete understands to the fullest extent what character really is.
Imagine we were at a pond or lake.
Imagine that we were throwing rocks into the lake just to hear the big splashes. Let’s say you found a huge boulder to throw in. It’s so big that you’re lugging it down by your waist to the pond and possibly would need your right thigh to help you toss it in.
You do so and the heavy rock doesn’t sink…no splash…nothing. In fact what happens is that the rock actually chips when it hits the water then rested on top of the water. What would you think about that?
Wouldn’t it be “Rocks don’t do that! And neither can water do that to a rock!”
You’ll say that because it’s against what we know the characteristics of a rock and water are. The character of a rock doesn’t allow it to be chipped falling unto a pond’s surface. And the character of a pond doesn’t allow it to chip that rock.
The difference between these inanimate objects and us as humans is that we can change but the rock and water won’t. We can get better or worse at any time.
In sports, generally, if one athlete does something to hurt another athlete, coaches would say to apologize because that shows good character. I think character is more than that. Character is not merely about being nice.
Character’s expression is about being decisively purposeful towards the end result of holistic improvements for oneself and others. Character is seen because there is a destination in mind. That’s why character isn’t just about being kind; you need self-control to be kind but you need courage to be purposeful. Having character takes courage to be consistently helpful in the face of difficulties and frustrations for the cause of purpose.
My statement on character is this: Character is witnessed through a disciplined person courageously pursuing skill.
And these skills can be relational, communication, tasks, physical, learning etc.
Character is not solely about being nice, it is especially about having the foresight to know why you should be and then engage in heavy pursuit of that reason, learning on the way. It’s only then that people would be shocked if they put you in a group and something doesn’t change for the better. Why? Because like the rock, it’s just what you do!