I was never a standout. There was nothing particularly special about my abilities as an athlete. I wasn't the fastest or the best on my team. You wouldn't see my name under a list of All Conference or All State selections, and you certainly won't find me in my high school's hall of fame. Even as a captain, I still didn't manage to receive my team's MVP Leadership Award my senior year after 5 long years of tireless dedication to the sport that made me who I am. And for a while, that broke my heart.
By my senior year, I had come to expect that I would probably never be recognized for my efforts on the field. The best I could get out of my coach was an All-District nomination my junior year, which even she didn't vote me for. I would be lying if I said I wasn't somewhat disappointed, but I also knew deep down not to expect anything. I wasn't great, I was good at best, and even that might be arrogant to say. Dribbling circles around the other team and scoring a handful of goals wasn't really my style. I preferred the "dirty" work. Defensive tackles and distributing the ball to my teammates. That is what I was good at. I was also good at leading, bringing a team together. I had spent the previous 4 years of my high school and club experience watching drama unfold, unfair treatment, and lack of inclusiveness possess the culture of my teams. Even though I had strived to be a leader all throughout my years, when I finally got the bid for captain my senior year, I took on the role with pride and responsibility.I admit, I was not perfect. I made a lot of mistakes. I often got in my own head and let every loss and team mistake become my fault, my responsibility. A pass gone awry: my fault, I should have been better. A 5-game losing streak: my fault, this had never happened. Breaking down in tears in the middle of practice: my fault, I should have never let my personal issues show face as weakness to my team. They were counting on me to be strong, to lead by example, and be the best I could be. I wanted to be perfect so bad that I even tried to quit because I thought my team would be better off without me.
I was sitting at the middle of the table with my teammates and best friends surrounding me. The coaches announced the MVP Leadership award, and all eyes shot to me when it wasn't my name being called. Everyone, including a small part of me, thought it was going to be me. As I looked around, the looks I got from my teammates were sympathetic, but what they didn't know was that this feeling was all too familiar. I was and am genuinely so happy that my best friend and co-captain got this one. We had spent many late nights in the parking lot after games crying and trying to come up with solutions on what we could do to help fix our team. She was truly a fantastic leader and role model, but I definitely choked back tears when she came back to the table and whispered, "This is your award too". For once in my life, I wanted to be recognized as someone worth having on a team. The moment I came home I knew I couldn't choke back tears anymore. I sobbed and sobbed for hours. I told my mom I didn't want to do it anymore. I wasn't sure how much longer I could keep pretending like it didn't hurt. I wasn't sure how much longer I could go without an ounce of validation from the coaches that I looked up to so much. It may seem dramatic of me to be crying over a stupid award that at the end of the day, doesn't really matter, but for me, this was a lifetime's worth of hurt that culminated into this one moment. A moment I thought it would be my time to shine and be recognized for my leadership efforts. I spent a lot of time beating myself up over it. I questioned if I was really as good of a leader as I thought I had tried so hard to be. I decided I wasn't. I wasn't loud enough, I wasn't tough enough, I wasn't confident enough. I thought, simply I wasn't enough.
I was never the type to yell at my teammates loud enough so everyone could hear it. As loud as I was off the field, I was soft spoken and quiet on the field. If there was something I wanted to say to someone, I would wait for a break in the game or a moment to speak face to face, rather than across the field. I waited until halftime to address the team as a whole, when I was calm and had a moment to catch my breath. I never wanted anything I said to come off in the wrong tone, so I was careful about when and where I chose to speak. I was the first one to arrive at practice and the last one to leave, making sure everyone got to where they needed to be. I loved those little moments off the field at a water break or on the bus rides home, where a dance battle or concert might break out. That was where I got to bond with my team, bring everyone together through silliness and laughter. I was the one who stayed after practice, taking shots at an empty net or doing "beast-mode" to refine my skills. I picked up the freshman's backpack who had more to carry than they had hands. I texted that teammate after practice who needed a confidence boost or the one who had a really good practice, because I wanted to let them know to keep up the good work. I pushed a girl down from behind because she was running her mouth to my teammates, and despite getting a yellow, I didn't tolerate anyone coming for my teammates. And it was me who when we lost on my senior night, that wiped my tears and saved them for later, because even if it was my night, it wasn't about me. Despite my disappointment, they needed to know I was proud to be apart of this team and proud of them. Maybe my lack of a voice on the field was a self-doubt thing, a fear to be loud and bold because for so many years I never mustered the strength to be heard. But for me, this is the way I chose to lead. I chose to lead quietly, and by example. And no, it didn't necessarily get me recognition or that award, but I learned to be ok with that. Because what I gained from this experience was far greater than what any award would ever get me.
I'm not writing this out of spite or to justify that I deserved something I didn't get. I'm writing this to tell the athlete that wants to be a leader or doesn't know how to be, to just be yourself. What I realized, is that there is no one way to be leader. There are leaders who are loud, vocal on the field, and make their presence known. They are tough and bold and make it known to the world. But there are also leaders who are quiet, who let their actions speak louder than words. To be quiet or lead in a different way does not make you less of one. So, what I want to ask you is, what kind of leader are you in the face of adversity? When your team is losing every game, when you have a bad practice, or when you are injured? Who are you then? It's easy being a leader when everything is going right. But what kind of an example are you going to set when shit hits the fan? What kind of leader are you when no one is watching? Because these are the kind of moments where showing up as a leader is the only thing that matters, even if it goes unrecognized. Will you run from the responsibility or rise to the occasion? I hope you are the one who chooses to rise, even in the face of adversity.
You don't need to be the best player on your team to be the greatest leader. You don't need justification or validation from your coaches to be the greatest leader. You don't need a title or award to be the greatest leader. You need yourself. You need to bring yourself to show up in moments when your team needs you the most. Your strength as a leader doesn't come from an award or recognition, it comes from the impact you choose to have on those around you. So be the one who carries the ball bag, even if you did it yesterday. Be the one who sits with the lonely and nervous freshman on the bus. Be the one who's presence brings out the best in each and every person and makes everybody feel like a somebody. Be the person you needed when you were younger. To be a leader is not a privilege or a title of "captain", but the responsibility of everyone. A responsibility that needs no recognition to have been meaningful and impactful.
So be loud or quiet, be in the game or on the sidelines, but be brave in your pursuit as a leader. Your voice needs to be heard.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
I wanted to be vulnerable at this moment and let you all know that today I am feeling incapable of writing a magnificent article
Ladies and gentlemen. I have been trying to write the same article for an entire MONTH. Yes, I know that it's a long time. And you may be asking yourself "Aren't you the president of this whole organization?" and I would tell you that, indeed, I am. It's my role to help inspire creators, bounce ideas off them, and make sure they don't find themselves in this VERY situation. However, this article that I've been trying to write is one where Ben Rector, my all-time favorite music artist, answered questions for me in the form of a word document. I am struggling for three main reasons.
1. I do not consider myself a writer who can type up an interview well.
2. I think that Ben Rector deserves the best article ever to be written about him, and my best article ever will have to take some time.
3. I am scared that whatever I post will not be good enough.
Are these reasons might be valid. In fact, I'd argue that they are. And my feelings?
Also valid. However, I cannot let these three reasons be what is holding me back from writing.
I have been able to be vulnerable on this site many times- about my own personal life and experiences and nothing but great things have come from it. Therefore, I wanted to be vulnerable at this moment and let you all know that today I am feeling incapable of writing a magnificent article that showcases how brilliant Ben Rector is. Soon, very soon, I will sit down at my favorite coffee shop, Kyle House, and write about a man whose music has always given me peace, comfort, and joy. Listening to Ben Rector feels like coming home to an old friend. As the man said himself, "there's nothing like old friends".
Games for a Party Bus Ride
A party bus is a convenient and fun way to get from place to place when you're celebrating with a group of people. They're ideal for pre-wedding festivities, birthday parties, and much more. While you're en-route to your various party stops, you'll need a way to pass the time and games are the perfect option. Check out these super fun choices and take your party to the next level.
This classic party game is a terrific choice for your bus ride. You can pick up where you left off, even if the game is interrupted as you make your various stops along the way. This game can be played with people of all ages, modified based on the group you are partying with. Simply write down random things on slips of paper and have each player choose one to act out when it's his or her turn.
An old-school classic, telephone is ideal for playing while you're on the road. To play, one person whispers a sentence into the ear of the passenger next to him or her. That person then leans over and whispers what they heard into the next person's ear, and so on, until everyone has heard the original sentence. The fun is hearing what the last person in line thinks the sentence was.
There are so many card games, which means plenty of choices while you ride around on your party bus. Whether you play a rousing game of poker or you pull out the Uno cards, everyone will enjoy getting on the action. This is even easier if you rent a party bus with tables that give you a place to spread your cards out.
Again, if you have tables in your party bus, board games are a fun way to keep all of the guests on the bus engaged and having fun. Depending on the age of your crowd and the number of players, you can play Scrabble, Memory, Monopoly, or Apples to Apples.
License Plate Games
To play this game, hand each person on the party bus a list of states and check off the list each time you see one that is on the list. You can also play this by making a list that includes other plates, such as vanity plates, police plates, etc. The player who checks off the most wins.
It's a party, so why not get some music going to encourage game time. Play music and randomly stop it, from time to time. When the music stops, everyone freezes in place until the music starts up again. This is a fantastic party game if your party includes young kids, but all ages can enjoy it too.
Two Truths and a Lie
You don't need any equipment for this game. Each person tells three facts about themselves, two that are true, and one that is a lie. The other players have to guess which one is the lie. This game is lots of fun for all ages.
Now you know what fun you can have, hire your party bus New York here. It's time to get the party started!
As a tennis coach, I have been asked multiple times, mostly by my students, what exactly they need to do to take their tennis skills further. In fact, there so many small things that need your attention, unfortunately, we ignore them mostly. This is the reason I am writing this article to highlight what you need to stop rather than what needs to do.
Tennis Goals vs. Personal Goals
Tennis Goals vs. Personal Goals
One of the obvious reasons for not achieving full potential in tennis is "misalignment between your tennis goals and personal goals". Yes, you heard the right. This happens when you are not giving enough time to practicing tennis. Just ask yourself this question, "The amount of time I am giving to practicing is enough to take me where I want to be?" If the answer is yes, you're on the right track, otherwise not.
Ignoring Your Fitness Life
Ignoring Your Fitness Life
Another reason for poor performance on the court is "Not paying attention to your fitness life". An average tennis match lasts an hour and a half. If at the end of the match, you are too tired but your opponent is not, then you need serious attention towards your fitness life. Add some kind of workout plan to your daily life.
Although this factor should be the part of my previous point, I have mentioned it separately. It's because footwork is so important that it can be ignored especially for a tennis player. Do footwork on daily basis. After all, tennis is all about running and continuous moving backward and forward, and on both sides as well.
Besides physical fitness, mental fitness is also the most important factor even for professional tennis players. Staying alert and sharp is the key to success in a tennis match. To do this, getting enough sleep is important for you.
Most beginner players chase perfection. But I ask my students to chase improvement on a daily basis. The reason is if you have set a goal to be perfectly level, then after achieving that goal you wouldn't bother to improve further. So I would recommend chasing improvement rather than perfection,