it’s okay to be okay with not being the best.

Stoic Edge Blog

As I helped with my daughter’s track meet today, watching young athletes pushing themselves regardless of their position in the pack, I couldn’t help but think about being an average athlete.

And how it’s okay to be okay with not being the best.
To not but be crushed if you aren’t a starter.

To spend most games on the bench and know you still are a valuable part of the team.

To be proud to be the backup.

To be satisfied with being on the practice squad.

Not everyone can be at the front of the pack. But you don’t have to be at the front to be a leader.

You don’t have to be the most valuable player to be an invaluable teammate.

And as parents, our encouragement should focus less on urging our children to outshine everyone else and more on inspiring them to be their best selves.

This is not a call to mediocrity, nor a surrender to complacency. It’s about being your best, irrespective of whether that places you on the varsity team or amongst the ranks of those whose names will never be mentioned in the record books.

In sports, as in life, there are elements beyond our control. Genetics, circumstances, and the innate abilities of our competitors all play roles in determining our skill level. These are the unpredictable variables, the external forces that shape the game but do not define us.

What truly defines us is our response to these variables, our unwavering commitment to give our all, regardless of the hand we’re dealt.

Excellence, therefore, becomes a personal endeavor, a measure of how we train, the effort we exert, our attitude, and how we support our teammates. It’s in these aspects that we have full autonomy, and it’s here that we can truly strive to be above average. It’s the early morning practices, the last to leave the gym mentality, the encouraging word to a struggling teammate—these are the markers of true leadership.

For my daughter, and for all young athletes, the lessons gleaned from sports extend far beyond the final score. It’s not about whether she stands on the podium, but how she stands in life.

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