Daily Archives: October 23, 2008

More on personal responsibility

Roman architecture

I really like Bobby Simpson at Higher Ground Softball. Not only is he knowledgeable and a very nice human being, he often provides some real food for thought in his regular Tuesday e-mail messages. Every coach should sign up for those e-mail missives.

This week’s was no exception. He told a story about how one of the features of Roman architecture was arches. Here is the full text:

I once read a very interesting item about Roman construction. I knew that one of the features of Roman architecture was the use of arches. I also knew that many of the structures that are over 2000 years old are still standing. What I did not know, until I read that item about fifteen years ago, was why their structures may still be standing. It seems that when the arches of a structure were finished, the engineer in charge was required to stand under the arches until the scaffolding was removed. If it was not built well, he would be the very first one to know and it could be a very painful lesson that would be learned. Talk about emphasizing personal responsibility. Ask yourself if you are willing to stand under your constructions. Are you willing to stand under the teams, businesses, families, friendships, or projects that you have built? Let some roads lead from Rome and stand under the arches of lives that you help to construct with excellence.

Isn’t that a great story? As I’ve said before, so many players (and their parents) seem unwilling to take personal responsibility for their own failings or failures. They’ll blame their teammates, their coaches, the umpires, and just about anyone else they can think of before they’ll think to say “Hey, maybe I should’ve worked a little harder in the off-season” or “I really didn’t bring my A game today.”

Great players evaluate themselves every game, always looking at what they could’ve done better this time and what they could do better the next time. They’re hungry for information and willing to work hard. And most of all, when it’s time to remove the scaffolding, they’re eager to stand under the arch and show the world how well they’ve done. It’s only the not so great players who would rather shove someone else under the arch, lest they themselves get hurt.

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