November 11, 2021
Last week I having specialty dental work performed. The dentist entered the room smiling, “I wondered if that was you on my appointment list, coach.” Chad is a former high school soccer player of mine. He was talented and had a great attitude. After dental school at WVU he moved to Colorado for 10 years. He returned to West Virginia with his family two years ago and set up his practice just before COVID happened. Chad is good at what he does.
One of the reasons I coach is to share what I have learned in life with young people to make a positive difference. Athletics are a great way to teach life lessons and see results quickly. They can teach the importance of fitness, hard work, positive attitude, perseverance and overcoming adversity. I see former players like Chad in the real world who are now successful doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, soldiers, coaches and fathers. Our new head coach is a former player as is my wife’s cardiologist.
This year’s team was young and inexperienced. In our first game we made mistakes and were behind 0-2 at halftime. It was a teaching opportunity. We learned this team has heart and they don’t quit. The boys fought back to tie and almost won the game. They continued to work hard, learn from their mistakes and overcome adversity from early losses, injuries, illness, and personal challenges. The Team set the goal in August to go back to the State Tournament and win the State Championship. We lost in the Championship game in 2020. They learned to dream high.
The bigger the dream the bigger the challenge. Seven games into the season we had a losing record of 2-3-2. We suffered a devastating 1-4 loss to the number one AA/A team in the state. There were doubts about how realistic the dream was with the toughest part of the schedule ahead. The boys believed in our new coach and his system. They did the work. Fifteen wins later we were playing in the State Championship game against the same number one ranked AA/A team who beat us earlier. This time we were ranked number 2. It was a battle. We had a two-goal lead with 6 minutes left. We made a couple of critical mistakes. They took advantage and tied the game in the final minute. We were going to sudden victory overtime.
Before the overtime, our boys were angry about letting victory slip away. I told them, “I know how you feel. I feel the same way.” I reminded them of the adversity we had over-come. What happened was over. We couldn’t change it. Blaming wouldn’t help. I told them, “It’s a new game. We are scoreless.” We still controlled of our future. I asked, “What’s the dream.” They responded, “State Championship.” I asked, “Do you still believe?” They yelled an affirmative response and ran onto the field. Less than five minutes later after a great pass, our captain buried the ball in the back of their net. We hoisted the State Championship Trophy. Dreams come true but isn’t easy.
This isn’t about a high school soccer team. It is about what we are capable of. Success leaves clues. We can learn from others. We need to have a dream, believe it is possible and work hard to achieve it. We need to overcome adversity and not quit. Success is about truths we all can learn and implement. Leadership is essential.
I became a coach to give back. What I didn’t expect was, the boys gave me the gift to be able to dream again. They reminded me dreams still come true. Adversity can be turned into opportunity in athletics, business, relationships and other areas of our lives. We can even bring high wage jobs back to the Shale Crescent USA region.
This week we celebrated Veterans Day. Freedom isn’t free. Veterans fought for our freedom and the rights we sometimes take for granted. All served. Some gave their lives others gave their limbs. They deserve our gratitude. Dad fought in World War II. Lynnda served during Vietnam. Corey our oldest, retired from the Navy after 26 years. Corey’s oldest son is now a Marine. We learned from Corey how family also gives. He was away from home and family sometimes for over a year when he was on a cruise. When Corey was in NCIS, we had no idea where he was or what he did. We would hear about a helicopter crashing in the Middle East and worry.
In war our veterans understand at a high level the success truths I discussed. They fight for much more than winning a ballgame. Lives and liberty are at stake. Overcoming adversity is part of war and combat. In World War II we lost a large part of our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. The home front sacrificed to build ships, planes, tanks and other equipment to win World War II. Today our military still runs mostly on petroleum for fuel. There is no substitute for it at present. Military equipment requires petrochemicals from natural gas and oil. Plastic is essential for military equipment.
There are people and groups, even some in Congress who want to ban or restrict our oil and gas production. Our President asked Russia and OPEC to increase oil production rather than expand our own industry. We didn’t ask our enemies for oil in World War II. The U.S. has abundant oil and natural gas to fuel and equip our military and run the rest of the country. We can extract it with a much lower environmental impact than any country on earth. Our military is fighting for our freedom. Shouldn’t we demand they have the fuel and equipment they need to do their job. We need to manufacture our military equipment in the USA! A high school soccer team overcame adversity to be successful. We can too. All things are possible.
© 2021 Shale Crescent USA
Greg Kozera, [email protected] is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. www.shalecrescentusa.com He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering with over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert, soccer coach, professional speaker, author of four books and numerous published articles.