Winter is Coming
If you’re a fan of the popular HBO Series Game of Thrones, then you’re familiar with the phrase, “Winter is coming.” It serves as a sort of warning for the citizens of the fictional world of Westeros. Winter brings with it not only the long night and the bitter cold, but also the threat of invasion by an army of zombie soldiers. For those who’ve never experienced this army for themselves, this threat is nothing more than a fairy tale made up by kooky ancestors. But for those who've actually experienced this army in the wilderness – and the reality of the damage it can do – this simple phrase serves as a powerful word of caution. There is unforeseen danger on the horizon. Soon you’ll be facing some new challenges, ones you’ve never seen before and probably aren’t prepared for. If you want to succeed later, then now is the time to get ready.
If you’re working to raise a champion athlete and man, I’ve got a simple word of warning for you today. When it comes to your son's experience in sports and in life, winter is coming. Of course I’m not trying to scare you with some fairy tale about a threat that doesn't really exist. I want you to see clearly today that there is some unforeseen danger on his horizon. Soon he’ll be facing some new challenges, ones he’s never seen before and probably isn’t prepared for. And if you want him to succeed later, then now is the timeto help him get ready.
If you’re serious about helping your son become a champion in sports or in life, then you better be serious about preparing him for what’s ahead. In reality, becoming a champion is hard; that’s why most people don’t do it. For your boy, becoming a champion will mean embracing the long, slow process required to reach his full potential. It'll mean fighting, and scraping, and clawing to take another small step forward in his improvement each day. It'll mean overcoming the struggles and adversity that are a part of every champion’s story, on the playing field or in life. It'll mean performing, over and over again in the dark, before his hard work is ever revealed under the bright lights of the big stage. And even then, it may mean failing repeatedly before he ever succeeds.
If you’re serious about helping your son become a champion in sports or in life,
then you better be serious about preparing him for what’s ahead.
This is the battle he’s headed for. I wish I could tell you there was an easier way, but there’s not. Becoming a champion takes what it takes. As a champion sports parent, it’s your job to see this reality and to prepare your son for it. Mediocre sports parents naively envision effortless success. They expect that positive results will come quickly and easily, and that there will be no fighting, or scraping, or clawing to do. These parents don’t see the important role that struggle, adversity, and failure will inevitably play in their son’s story, on the playing field or in life, and they don’t recognize the reality of all that time that must be spent working in the dark. Mediocre sports parents have convinced themselves that this impending battle is nothing more than a fairy tale. Maybe they’ve never experienced this fight for themselves – they’ve never really pursued becoming a champion in their own life – and don’t really see what it takes. That's why so often, mediocrity breeds mediocrity.
On the other hand, champion sports parents are likely committed to raising a champion because they’ve pursued becoming a champion themselves. Maybe they’ve pursued it in sports, or in business, or as a husband, a father, or a friend. They know the reality of what it takes – the process, the fighting, the struggle, the adversity. They know that if they’re serious about raising a champion themselves, then for their son, that means winter is coming. They’re working hard today to prepare and equip him for the new challenges approaching. Champions see what it takes, and work to help their kids do the same. That's why so often, champions breed champions.
For your son, the battle will be here soon. Maybe it's here in your son’s life already. It's a battle against all those things that can keep him from becoming his best. Mediocrity. Boredom. Obligation. Fear. Excuses. Negativity. Victimization. These enemies won’t be fighting your son with a sword and a shield, but instead with a tiny whispering voice in his ear. They'll speak lies that can cut right through his potential. “This is too much work. This is too hard,” they'll say. “You’re fighting and scraping and clawing, and you’ve barely gotten any better. It’s not worth it - you might as well give up. Besides, if you’re not good at it today, you probably never will be. Just find someone to blame for your problems. Make it somebody else’s fault. Stop with this battle for a second, and look how many people are over here in my army. It’s so easy over here...and so comfortable. C’mon, enough with the fighting. Just walk away, and accept that you weren’t made for greatness.”
When winter comes, will your son be prepared for the fight? When this new, unforeseen danger threatens on his horizon, will he be equipped for battle? If he’s going to be a champion, there will be some new challenges coming his way, some he’s never seen before. Will he be ready when they come for him?
I hope today that you won’t naively ignore the important preparations that need to be made in the life of your child. I hope instead you’ll courageously work to equip him to fight a champion's fight. I hope when mediocrity comes looking for him, that he’s armed with a tough mind, a passionate heart, and a willing spirit. I hope you’ve given him a clear vision for who he can become and an understanding of what it takes to get there. I hope he beats mediocrity to a pulp, and then goes on his way pursuing greatness. All that and more is possible, but only if…
Only if today you see clearly that winter is coming, and that it’s time to get to work.
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