I want to tell you a story. It is not an original story, but it is a good one. Most attribute it to a Native American tribe, usually the Cherokee. That is fine for my telling. The story deals with two wolves, and I am going to paraphrase the tale with soccer comparisons. Check it out:
A soccer coach gathered his players around. He told them a story.
“Girls, there is a battle going on between two wolves inside every one of us. One is evil. It is anger, selfishness, rage, lashing out against teammates, turning on one another, and quitting on the team. The other is good. It is beautiful play, togetherness, team spirit, support, encouragement, and care for the feelings of each member of the team.”
As he finished his story, one of the players asked him: “Which wolf wins?”
The coach simply replied: “The one you feed.”
This story, while slightly changed from the original, still retains its message. Our best moments as a team are when we support one another, when we encourage one another, and when we play for one another. Our worst moments are when we feed that evil wolf. This season has been one of many highs, but we know that the lows will happen, too.
In those moments, we cannot allow evil habits to take over; we cannot feed them. The team is the same team, and tonight, we happened to lose.
When we lose, we cannot allow ourselves to slide into bad habits.
When we win, we cannot allow ourselves to slide into bad habits.
From a practical standpoint, did you know that the heat index when we kicked off was ninety-eight (98!!!) degrees? Sounds hot, right? It was.
The thing about heat…it tends to cause us to lose our cool. No pun intended.
The other thing about heat is that, as you know, it is different from playing at night when the temperature is seventy degrees and cool. People will need breaks. Substitutions will need to happen. That is called being safe.
When you let the heat get to you, though, you run the risk of spoiling the game for our team.
Think about it like this: Have you ever baked biscuits? Biscuits are great. Maybe not as full meals by themselves, but hey – who doesn’t love a good biscuit? When you are baking the biscuits, though, if you leave them in the oven too long, and if you turn up the temperature too high, they will ruin. They won’t be very good.
If that is a little too much, think of it like this: your safety as players is more important to me than winning a match. It is my job to protect you from the heat. It is also my job to protect you from yourselves.
Now…let’s feed some biscuits to the good wolf from the story.
On to the next one.
See you Monday.
–Coach (Mr.) Garrett