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Take A Licking and Keep On Ticking!-8
May 15, 2018
Grappling For Excellence!On The Hard Road!-8

I don't know if you guys remember the Timex watch commercial from years ago that said that Timex watches could take a licking and keep on ticking.

After finishing the River City Duals last night three points short from winning the title that is what I felt like.

Although I have to admit for a while I wasn't sure about the keep on ticking part.

I don't know if any of you read my article a while back where I included a story written about a mule that kept shaking it off and stepping up so I will include it for those of you who haven't read it.

Shake It Off And Step Up A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying' - or - whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL! What seemed like it would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.

THAT'S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US! Remember that FORGIVENESS--FAITH--PRAYER-- PRAISE and HOPE...all are excellent ways to "SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP" out of the wells in which we find ourselves!

Recently as positive and determined as I have tried to be, I have found myself in more than a few wells and obviously a number of people ready to help shovel in the dirt.

I have continued to try and do what I have done for my entire life and that is to help people, particularly kids become better people and contributors to the world that we live in.

I think that unless high expectations are levied on kids and people in general you will get just what you ask for. So I keep trying to hold the level high and expecting people to step up.

I think it was Muhammed Ali that said something like I will suffer for this small period of time so that I can live the rest of my life like a champion. I have of course paraphrased that statement but I think you get the picture.

This is a statement that goes against the grain of probably eighty per cent of the people in the world. I truthfully believe that as I have tried to hold high expectations for myself, my family the kids I have taught and coached and anyone else that I have had the opportunity to work with.

It totally amazes me how difficult a task that holding those expectations are. Don't get me wrong I am not complaining about a difficult task, I am just disappointed at the fact that so many are willing to live their lives in mediocrity just because some things are hard. The other part that just devastates me are the people with agendas that absolutely do not care who they hurt or who doesn't get treated well becase they are so selfish they cannot see past anything but getting what they want themselves.

I have met some people in my travels however; who are among the few who think about doing something in and with their lives that is way bigger than themselves and are not looking for any special treatment for themselves or accolades just caring about the objectives they have for their lives and the job they have chosen to invest themselves into.

I found many of them in the United States Marine Corps. Talk about a shock treatment and talk about high expectations that is an organization that not only talks about it but lives and thrives on it. At 17 years of age I got introduced into that world and even though it was one of the hardest things I have done in my life, it was one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done. I only mention that to say that by the "Grace of God" I got through that experience, especially boot camp and that I still consider many of those that I met my brothers and am proud to be associated with them.

I have carried some of those principles throughout my entire life. I have tried to impart them to those that have cared to stay around me. I have been criticized so many times because I keep trying to hold on to those principles and core values but the reward associated with some people finally "getting it" and some kids turning their lives around and a whole bunch of my former athletes who have turned into great people that I keep holding on to them. As difficult as it is to do I believe it is worth it.

I have tried to teach kids to take what comes and keep stepping up to sacrifice in the short term for the long term benefit. I have not wavered from that position for the past thirty four or so years in this this profession.

After losing the chance to win another championship last night I held myself and the kids accountable for some mistakes we had made and challenged them not to be second. I know that in iife sometimes we are going to be second or tenth but what I don't want to allow myself or anyone around me to do is be satisfied with second or tenth. I have spent the majority of my life reaching for the highest goals and believe me it has caused me a lot of grief, being misunderstood, even probably being disliked. I still don't care, I think it is so important to strive to achieve high goals that i am willing to take that beating also. I am willing to have the dirt shoveled in on me if I can teach a kid to move through the hard stuff and achieve something great I will continue to endure the negative.

What people see about what is done by Teachers and Coaches is just a brief snapshot of what really goes on in putting together a team or successful group or even a successful individual. So much of the work is done behind the scenes and very rarely are people rewarded for all of the behind the scenes type stuff that puts people in a position to be successful.

All people see is the tip of the iceberg. Ninety per cent of the work is behind the scenes. I really don't care about that either. I just have a problem with people that are so short sighted that they actually think that the whole thing revolves around what you seen in the championship round or in the conference dual or at the State Tournament.

I challenge those of you that think you have all of the answers and are so willing to criticize and shovel in the dirt to apply for the job and take a whack at it and put yourself in my shoes and then if you still feel justified go ahead and throw some more dirt in.

I am totally amazed at the people who are willing to take everything I have to give and not even have the courtesy to say Thank You. I obviously don't make a million dollars doing this I do it because I care about kids and people in general. My investment in what I do is huge and it impacts my entire life and most waking moments of my life.

I really don't want to "make" anyone do anything, I want them to "want" it and be willing to invest and sacrifice and put themself out there and then take your lumps and your rewards in stride. I won't let you off the hook, and I won't give you the easy way out because I know for a fact if I do that I will let you down for what you have to handle later in life.

There are people out there that think that putting a team together involves practicing two hours and teaching a bunch of technique and then going out and competing, more sadly there are some coaches that do that. I am assured however;that most coaches are very invested in what they do or they would not do it. The ones that do that may be successful for a while and they might even win some matches or a title but by and large they are flashes in the pan and don't last very long. Worse yet, they truly do not give kids the "Championship Life Experience" that they could have.

They don't give the kids the disciplined experience in the sport that will allow them to be successful people. They don't allow them to become leaders, and develop work ethic and become good sports. They short change their experience and in the long run the kids suffer.

My hat is off to the Coaches that deliver a great experience to kids because for many kids that might be the most important and most positive thing in their life. That is why I have continued to do it for these many years.

I get criticized even because I "Worry" so much. I will give you a little secret it is not so much worry as it is "Caring So Much" If you want to criticize me for that knock yourself out.

Muhammed Ali also said this:
"The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. "

My point to all of this is If you really want to do something of importance- support your kids, and their coaches. Give the coaches some credit for the fact that they have invested themselves in the lives of young people.

How about this? Help us put together some meals for one of our road trips, support the decisions we make, help us find shoes for kids that cannot afford them, help monitor grades or even better, help us tutor kids in their academic subjects so they can remain eligible. Help support some of the kids on the team that do not have family support. Help us find doctors and medical services for our kids that will take the time to understand the sport and help us keep kids healthy and in the line up. Help us get kids to and from practice, we do that also. Help us send a deserving kid to camp, or help drive the kids to camp or even better come up to camp one day and support what the kids are doing. Work a shift at the Best of The West Duals, Help us with a fundraiser so that we can have meal money to give the kids on their trips. Support the kids as they manage their weight through out the season. Help by monitoring their skin so that we can keep the room clean and safe for the kids to participate in practice. Help us recognize the kids for their hard work by putting out the positive word in the community about what the kids are doing. Help us make sure that kids have clean practice clothes and in some cases maybe you could donate good practice shorts and t-shirts, sweats. Believe it or not many kids do not have these things. Help us by not putting rumors or untruths out there. As I would like to remind the local paper, it does not have to be true, it just has to be said. I obviously could go on but I just wanted to offer a few places where you could do something positive.


Shaking it off and Stepping Up!
"grappling for excellence"
Coach Bodnar

Posted by: Robert Bodnar, Aug 25, 08:32

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