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Everyone loves football. Fall can never get here fast enough, friends and families gather around to watch their favorite team play. It’s become a great pass-time and fun entertainment, but there are also some great life lessons to be learned from watching the game.
1. Talent is not enough, you need to work hard.
Talent will only get you so far, you need to practice and condition your body so that you can let your talent shine. At each level, the level of talent becomes more uniform, what separates those who excel is the work and effort that players put in to showcase their talent. The lesson we need to teach our kids as they discover their talents is the value of hard work and practice. Talent may get their feet in the door, but their work ethic is what gets them a seat at the table.
You learn a lot by visiting someone where he works. Rain pours and it’s still dark outside as a Holy Innocents’ senior performs her early-morning basketball drills alone in the high school’s gym. Sydney Long halts her work and beams at the mention of Tony Watkins’ name. ‘He’s my coach,’ she says.
Sydney is heading to Furman to study and to play basketball, but this year she is limited to drills as she recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Coach Tony Watkins appears and encourages her --- ‘We really miss her shooting,’ he says. Later, at the assistant athletic director’s office he occupies, colleagues pretend to be indignant when he introduces the guest from NYO. In fact, they are proud of their guy.
At the end of this school year, he, too, will leave Holy Innocents’. He has taught sixth-grade geography and coached girls’ varsity basketball there since 2008. From a talented pool of more than 300 applicants, Tony has emerged to succeed Jane Wilkins, NYO’s executive director of 35 years. The NYO board took care in a letter announcing the change to say ‘there is no replacing Jane . . . the heart and soul of NYO.’
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