To the athlete who has to work ten times harder to be half as good:
The most important thing I can tell you is BE PERSISTENT.
If I gave up every time I had a door shut in my face, was given a "no", or an "I'm sorry, we just don't have room for you.", I would NOT be where I am today. This holds true for my life in general, not just sports. But I know where you are and I know how it feels to constantly feel like you're not good enough and it really sucks, but in the long haul, its' a blessing.
How can being turned down and not being good enough be a blessing? Sounds crazy right? Well guess what, its' a blessing because it makes you grow as a person whether you like it or not. It makes you learn how to appreciate the good that comes your way, it makes you understand that things in life don't come free -- they require effort, it helps you learn to work not just harder, but smarter.
There are so many things that make your life better that stem from this and while in the moment it doesn't seem like anything good can come from it, but keep an eye on the bigger picture. I know it may not seem fair, and it probably isn't, but who ever said life was fair? If it's supposed to be, then life sure did not get the memo.
I know there have been so many times that you have put in all the work and all of the extra that wasn't required, but you did it anyway because you wanted to be the best. I know that sometimes you can work as hard as you want and someone will always be better, that's life.
I know how hard it is to go day in and day out and not be appreciated for it. It's rough and sometimes you just want to give up. Don't. Keep working because even if the people who SHOULD notice it doesn't, you are still able to say you gave it all you had. It will all pay off soon enough, I promise.
I could turn this article into a very hate-fueled one because of everyone that has ever doubted me, told me I couldn't, that I wasn't good enough, or never even gave me a true chance, but I'm not. They know who they are.
But what do I have to say to those people?
Thank you for breaking me, you don't know how many nights after games, after practices I spent devastated because I never thought I was good enough, I didn't think I was working hard enough. So I'd work longer, and I'd work harder all to prove a point that I was good enough. I realize now that I was good enough all along, but that's the thing, I don't want to settle for good enough. So thank you for allowing me to "not be good enough" because now I am better and better off.
So to the athlete that has to work ten times harder to be half as good:
Keep working because you're right, you're not good enough. You're great. You're great because you understand how it is to work so hard for something that may come easily to others. You're great because you know that things in life aren't given to you, they're earned. You're great because you haven't given up, don't give up. Don't give up because you never know what opportunity might be knocking at your door.
"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."
This quote right there is what I have clung to since high school. I can remember it being painted on the wall in one of my sports locker rooms. Sometimes you don't have the talent, I sure wasn't born with it. Sometimes you have to work your butt off day in and day out to be half as good as those with the natural talent, sometimes you have to work your butt off to prove that you're better than the favorite.
Whatever your situation may be, keep grinding even when you don't believe in yourself. I believe in you. If it wasn't for my mom teaching me to never quit something once you started it, in all things, I would not be where I am today. I would not be the person I am today. I would not be as mentally strong as I am today.
So from one athlete who has ALWAYS had to work ten times harder to be half as good to another, hang in there kid and enjoy the ride. Enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugly because it doesn't last forever. You don't know what play will be your last, give every moment your all because it does end.
It may not feel like it, but there will be a time that sports aren't your life anymore. That's when all the lessons you learn from it will start to show themselves and you'll appreciate it even more. You'll appreciate your coaches more than ever for everything they taught you and you'll remember all the ones that did you wrong-- thank both of them because they helped shape who you are and who you're going to be.