Champions want the bar to rise

Stoic Edge Blog

“Champions want to see the bar rise, they don’t cling to it hoping it stays forever in their grasp.”

This year we all watched the bar rise, and witnessing that has been incredible.

As I watched the tears fill in my youngest daughter’s eyes after Iowa failed to win the National Championship, I couldn’t help but think of the messaging leading up to this game, that Caitlin Clark’s “GOAT” status was dependent on winning a national title, and how much weight we put on winning championships rather than developing champions.

It’s a dangerous message.

It is a message that is rooted in an outcome that is out of one’s control, and aims to diminish the accomplishments that are.

The message that to be a champion you must win a championship, is simply not true.

Champions are leaders, inspiring others to be better and do better. Champions care about being their best, about being invaluable, not about being the best- because they know that if you allow others to determine your worth, you will never be good enough.

Champions want to see the bar rise, they don’t cling to it hoping it stays forever in their grasp.

The supportive comments from Clark and Paige Bueckers about Juju Watkins are proof that champions know that their greatness comes from within and isn’t dependent on just the numbers on a scoreboard. Champions celebrate when their record is broken, because they don’t need to keep others down to stay on top.

South Carolina played a great game today and the team and their coach(es) deserve to celebrate. I am in no means trying to diminish their accomplishment. But we have to be careful about the message the young ears around us hear when our team doesn’t win.

Because while the odds of them playing in a national title game are slim, the odds of them failing at something that means a lot to them are all but a certainty. And I for one, do not want my daughters to believe that their greatness is only determined in those moments. I want to teach them how to live in the “and” not the “or”. How to lose a championship and be a champion.

And I feel incredibly lucky to have this Iowa team to show them exactly what that looks like.

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