Melanie McDaniels: Working hard or hardly working?

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It's taught in classes, it's taught on the field -- how to be a good sport and show sportsmanship.

But what it really boils down to is that those classes and that word "sportsmanship" are a safety net, so if a player reacts poorly to a call or another player, adults can't be held responsible for the player's actions. And maybe they shouldn't be held responsible, because, in essence, you are always responsible for yourself and your own actions.

This is evident now more than ever, after witnessing two players give up and quit their team this last week at a Bulldog soccer game.

Maybe the two players didn't like the coach, or maybe they didn't like the team. But one thing that life has taught me, and will hopefully teach them, is hard work is never easy and quitting doesn't get you anywhere fast.

I played high school sports and I learned this. Anybody who plays sports knows this.

You determine your success factor -- it may not be the same factor coaches use, and it may not be the same factor that your parents use.

What is success?

My definition of success may differ from others' definitions, so let's go with a general Webster's dictionary version: Success is a favorable result.

In high school athletics, there are many times when success is determined by the number of wins and losses.

People can say sports build character but the truth of it is: "Sports do not build character. They reveal it," basketball coach John Wooden said.

You will find out what kind of person you are deep down inside by winning or losing at anything, whether it be school, sports or life in general.

Baseball legend Willie Mays once said: "In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept destructive criticism. Without 100 percent dedication, you won't be able to do this."

Mays hit the nail right on the head because nothing is ever achieved without hard work and dedication.

More and more today, youths expect some sort of entitlement to what they do. They don't work hard at practices and expect to do well in competition, and when that doesn't happen, they blame the coach because they didn't prepare them well enough.

I think responsibility rests with the athletes -- if they're not working hard, they can't expect to accomplish anything. That is a life lesson. And the most successful people are those who work to no end to improve.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

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