By: David Tikker, CAA (WSSAAA Executive Director) – Spokane, Washington
Our new executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), Mick Hoffman, has an interesting little saying right before his email signature. It says, "Walking our talk without making excuses." I love that saying. It's empowering when you lay a strong foundation for what you believe in that sends a positive message to all stakeholders. "We believe in what we are doing."
When we quit believing in what we are doing then we just become a management tool and our jobs become irrelevant. That can never be the case with education-based activities. Regardless of all the obstacles that interfere with our programs, it is imperative that we all affirm the value of what we do daily. Furthermore, that value should not be reflected in the win and loss column.
My 7th grade basketball team, the first team I coached in junior high, was 0-10. We were horrible and got beat our first game 64-4. I had to come to grips very quickly about how to find victories in a losing season. Our motto after that first game was "Get up, dress up, show up and never ever, ever, give up." We lost every game but the victories we had going through that season were life changing. Never had I experienced the closeness of a group of guys. They fed off of my positive attitude and I fed off of their determination. And as an aside, my current family doctor was on that team.
Celebrate the victories beyond wins and losses. Find ways in your programs to promote the value of what your coaches are teaching our youth. Here are some examples:
The best possible outcome of your season is parents, athletes, and your communities seeing the value in what you are doing. It can be pretty amazing how that can become a community builder.