Walkin’ the Sidelines: What exactly leads to certain failure?

Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1789 in referencing the new Constitution of the United States “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Now isn’t that an encouraging thought? Many who are worldly would surely agree with the wisdom of arguably America’s most famous statesman. Heck, Franklin is so famous that many wrongly think he was one of our presidents. Sorry, he wasn’t but that is a discussion for another day.

Now back to death and taxes.

While those two things may be certainties in life, there are certainties in the sports world as well. One certainty in sports is that one’s time in them will one day end. Otherwise, most people who have any experience with sports would agree that there are few if any guarantees of success.

Sadly you could work hard, do all of the right things, attend all practice sessions and yet still not be successful. There are many reasons why that could be.

One of which could be that there is just a serious lack of athleticism within an individual for success to occur.

However, if we approach guarantees from another angle, we might just be able to identify some things that will lead to certain failure.

One of the first things that will lead to certain failure is failing to work hard. Hard work is an important ingredient for success in any endeavor. Failing to put forth maximum effort into anything is likely to lead to failure sooner or later. This is surely magnified in the sports world. Sure, some with exceptional talent will get by for a while solely on their natural talents, but in the long run, they will fail.

Talent alone can allow some to be successful at lower levels of play, but if and when they move on to the next level, that natural talent may very well not be enough to sustain them any longer.

So yes, working hard is essential for any degree of success in the long term. But, many refuse to work hard.

Many are just plain lazy. Others don’t see the need. They see work as hard. Well, that is indeed why we call it hard work.

However, what athletes must remember is that success and winning is hard. But those who think that winning is hard to achieve ought to try losing. No, it’s not hard to achieve but it sure is hard to take. In short, hard work will give you a much better chance at success and winning than a lack of it ever will.

A second factor sure to result in failure is complaining about everything. All too often there are athletes who seem to complain about everything. They are asked by their coach to change positions.

“You want me to play the line when I’m a fullback?”

“You want me to play defender when I’m a midfielder?”

“You want me to play the outfield when I’m really a shortstop?”

They are asked to sacrifice for the team and complain. You want me to sacrifice? Why me? Someone else can do that.

They are instructed to do a little extra and complain. Why do I have to do that? They are pushed to the limit in practice by a coach demanding their best and they complain.

Why is coach so hard on me? Complain, complain and complain some more.

Unfortunately, we all know people like that. They exist in the workforce as well. Tell them it’s going to be a great day with a weather forecast of mostly sunny and they will dwell on the cloud or two that might pass by.

Give them $100 just to be nice and it should have been $101. Their glass is always half empty. They are not fun or enjoyable people to be around. They are not fun teammates to have. They can kill a team very quickly as they are a cancer that grows and grows. We all know them. The chance of them finding success is highly unlikely. In fact, their chance of failure is almost certain.

A third factor is blaming things on others.

A play is messed up and it’s not their fault. I threw the interception, but it was because the receiver ran the wrong route. Not my fault.

A game is lost, but it’s not their fault. My teammates stunk, or they didn’t get to play as much as they thought they should have. We know who that’s getting blamed on.

Blaming is an easy thing to do, but it doesn’t change the reality.

Fourth, is being ungrateful. In order to be successful, an athlete needs many to assist and support them.

They need parents to get them to and from practices and games as well as to provide financial support. They need coaches to show them how to play. They need teammates to push them and play along with them. They need trainers to keep them healthy.

However, some will not recognize the necessity that they have for others nor the contributions that they make toward making them successful. They believe in their own greatness. Well, at least that’s what they think it is. Because of their ungratefulness, they will surely face ultimate failure.

I must admit that when I was younger, I would hear a player doing a postgame interview praising God and I often thought it was being done for show. Now, I realize that perhaps for some it is. However, I recognize that those who are wise understand that God plays a huge role in their success and they are offering praise to him for that. It is in fact not a show.

They recognize that many others play a role in their success as well. While non-believers may not see the relevance of God in their success, the wise ones at least recognize they are not alone as the reason for their success.

Whether it’s God or others who they feel are assisting them, as long as they understand, they are on their way to achieving success. In contrast, going the way of arrogance will put them on the road to failure.

There will likely never be a guaranteed route to success in sports. There will always be many suggested routes to improving one’s chances of success in the sports world. However, none of them will guarantee anything. Contrastingly though, there are factors that will almost assuredly lead to failure in sports.

When choosing your path, be sure to see a glass half-full.

Work hard, don’t complain, accept responsibility and be sure to recognize and thank others for their influence and support. By doing so, you will be doing your best to succeed and at the same time, your best to avoid the almost guarantee of failure.


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