Sunday, April 29, 2012

Letter to my 13 year old self

It has been 30 years since I was a geeky, skinny 13 year old.  Here are 13 things I want him to know about life and sports…

·        It’s tough being a teenager; you will fail often and wonder, “Why me?” on a regular basis.  Those hard times will yield valuable lessons which will shape you, teach you, mold you, harden you into the adult you will become.
·        You will strike out a lot more than reach a base, miss more lay-ups than make, drop more passes than catch; you can fail, but you can’t give up.
·        You will likely try to fit in with others, to make them happy.  Guess what?  They need to fit in with you, not the other way around.  If those kids don’t like you for you, then hang out with kids who do.
·        Sports will teach you almost every lesson you need to know about life.  Books will fill in the gaps.
·        I get it:  Grown ups are weird and mean and dictators.  They are doing the best that they can, and care about you more than anyone else.
·        There will be moments - good and bad - on the field and court that you will never forget.  Cherish those.
·        You may not like your coaches and teachers, but the good ones will be remembered long after you are done playing for them.
·        Keep figuring out who you are all the time.  You will see different labels all over the school: Jock, geek, nerd, stoner, goth, bully.  Be your authentic self.  Forge your own path and never conform.
·        The cruelest kids are just as confused and helpless as everyone else, maybe more so.
·        The ironic twist is that you want to get older as fast as possible; that will reverse sooner than you think.  Have as much fun as possible.  Be. A. Kid.
·        You will do some stupid things in the next few years.  Actually you never stop doing stupid things.  You just become wiser and try to minimize the damage along the way.
·        Talent is overrated.  Some of the most talented kids will miss the rewards of hard work because everything comes easy to them.  You are talented, but that does not excuse you from working your butt off.
·        Believe in yourself.  In a few decades you will open a business where you will be working with a bunch of (you guessed it) 13 year olds teaching them how to be better athletes.  You will use the next 30 years worth of knowledge to “pay it forward”.  Maybe, just maybe, you can be a positive influence on a geeky, skinny 13 year old trying to figure stuff out.

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