What Makes A Good Athlete

What makes a good athlete? Well, that right there is the million dollar question. I don’t really have one simple and straight forward answer to that question. Here are some qualities that I personally believe are important. Take my opinion with a grain of salt. What I think may not be similar to what others say at all.

1. Team player

A good athlete makes choices based on the good of his whole team. They do whatever needs to be done with little to no complaints.

2. Being a leader

If you want to be a star athlete, you need to have the gift of leading. This is one of those things that you pretty much have or you don’t have it. Yes, you can work on becoming a stronger leader. But you have that natural talent of leading, you just become more mature with time.

3. Dedicated

You need to be beyond dedicated to your sport. You want to get continually better. You also desire playing your sport of choice pretty much all the time. You can’t just play it sometimes, there has to be a high level of dedication to it.

4. You have to love it

This is basically a given, if you don’t love something, you’re probably not going to be very good at it. This is mostly due to the fact that you will most likely dread playing the sport so loving it is a big factor in how good you will potentially be.

5. You have to balance fun and serious

Having fun with your sport of choice is important. If you take the sport too seriously, it becomes less of something that you look forward to. However, you have to take your sport seriously and not as if it’s completely a joke. So there’s got to be a balance which can be a hard thing to do. But I think if you take all of those above qualities, then you also will have some ability to balance both fun and serious.

Personal Relationship With Sports

Why do I care about sports at all? That’s a complicated question to really answer. Well, first of all, I am not an athletic person. I’ve never played sports but I’ve grown up with them all my life. My brother played basketball, baseball, football, and wrestling. I grew up at the baseball field as a little girl. I used to bring my Barbie backpack and a few Barbies to get me through the ball games. It wasn’t something I cared about back then but now the sport is something I love.

Football was another sport I didn’t understand as a little girl watching her older brother play in the pee wee football games. My brother wasn’t bad but I was about 2 or 3 years old and truthfully, I couldn’t pick out which one was my brother. Years later, I started watching football for the first time. It took me awhile to make it through the whole game since I’d get so restless. I watched the games in full at home and I fell in love with the sport.

A lot of sports fans are those that at least have some athleticism. I have pretty much none and absolutely no sports background except for a year of basketball and a year of track. I am not coordinated and I was always picked last in gym class. But it when it comes to knowing what I talk about and making decent plays, I’ve always been able to do that. I think some people have a brain for sports while some have an ability for sports, some have both. I’m more of just a brain kind of person. But I’m okay with that and I’ll continue to share my love for many different sports as many chances I get.

There’s something beautiful about the way each game is played and also something interesting and awesome about the stories. They never get old to me and maybe you don’t feel that way, but this is my story. Maybe you don’t get why I chose to blog about sports this month but I hope this will give you some background and context about what I do.

Sports Quotes

Here are some of the best quotes from athletes and coaches about many different sports and just life in general. These are all inspirational and heartwarming to say the least. If you can think of any other quotes I happened to miss, be sure to let me know.

“The only way to prove that you’re a good sport is to lose.” – Ernie Banks

“It’s not the will to win that matters – everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Bear Bryant

“How you respond to the challenge in the second half will determine what you become after the game, whether you are a winner or a loser.” – Lou Holtz

“Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” – Arnold Palmer

“Most talented players don’t always succeed. Some don’t even make the team. It’s more what’s inside.” – Brett Favre

“Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

“You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” – Michael Phelps

“Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

“Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” – Phil Jackson

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” – Babe Ruth

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” – Muhammad Ali

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey

“Never give up! Failure and rejection are the first step to succeeding.” – Jim Valvano

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

Best Sports Articles

There’s something special about sports articles. To be a good one, the reporter has to be involved in the lives of the athletes. These authors in the following magazine articles went above and beyond that expectation and wrote some of the best articles of all time.

1. Crime and Punishment by Gary Smith

By far my favorite piece of sports writing of all time. Richie Parker was a high school basketball player who found his dreams of being a college basketball player shattered when one moment beneath the school stairwells changed everything. The interesting thing about this story is how everything affects everything. It didn’t just change Richie’s life, it changed the lives of journalists, principals, coaches, and other authority figures. It’s written in such a flawless way and you get wrapped up in the lives of every character.

2. Life goes on for Lance Armstrong by Rick Reilly

This story is heartbreaking and personal. Reilly went above and beyond the call of duty by following Lance Armstrong around and also defending him against steroid allegations for years. The story uncovers a lot of information and you can’t help but sympathize with Rick Reilly.

3. The Final Walk-Off by J.R. Moehringer

Derek Jeter is one of the best baseball players my generation has seen. I love how in-depth and thoughtful this story really is. It’s a terribly long article but it’s worth the read. I’ve never been a big fan of Jeter as a person but this story was able to shed a light on how awesome the baseball player actually is.

4. In The Nick of Time by Rick Bragg

Despite the totally awful pun, the title and the article gives us serious insight on how much the state of Alabama needed Nick Saban. It’s crazy to me how obsessed these fans are. But football is really the big thing that gets people together in the state. Saban was able to satisfy the people of Alabama by his arrival. It’s a fascinating story filled with many quotations and personal stories.

5. The Left Arm of God by Tom Verducci

I love the story of the legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax. So naturally, this story really appealed to me. In my humble opinion, the introduction to this story is by far one of the best I’ve ever read. It paints such a vivid picture for you of a man who’s no longer a star, he’s just like an ordinary guy who doesn’t get much attention.

6. Heroes For Sale by Brin-Jonathan Butler

This is a lovely profile of a former Cuban boxer who proved that money isn’t the most important thing in life. This Cuban boxer, Teófilo Stevenson, once said, “What is a million dollars compared to the love of eight million people?” Stevenson was one of the few boxers who was able to stand a chance against Ali. The profile does a great job at connecting the boxer with the number one most famous Cuban athlete Yasiel Puig and both of them with Cuba in general.

7. Federer As Religious Experience by David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace is one of the best authors I’ve ever read. He doesn’t just scratch the surface of what he writes about, he digs in as deep as he can possibly get. He’s known more for his essay on lobster and his classically long book, “Infinite Jest.” Beyond that, he was also an amazing sportswriter. More specifically, he was a beautiful writer about tennis. He was a serious tennis player growing up and it’s clear he knows a lot about this sport that he loves. This essay provides us with a perspective about Federer that we’ve never looked at before.

8. Higher Education by Gary Smith

Gary Smith tells the story of a black basketball coach teaching in Ohio’s Amish country. This story goes beyond basketball and creates empathy within the readers. It also is the rare type of story that causes us to actually put ourselves in the characters shoes. Just read how perfect this sentence right here is, “They knew in their bones how small his wrath was, held up against his love.” It’s simple yet beautiful and compelling.

9. Special Team by Rick Reilly

No story could be more heartwarming as this one. Rick Reilly tells a story about Chy Johnson, a girl from the small town of Queen Creek Arizona who was being bullied at school. This quote explains it all, “Chy’s brain works at only a third-grade level because of a genetic birth defect, but she knew enough to feel hate.” Her mom noticed how sad her daughter seemed to be so she contacted the starting quarterback on the school’s football team, he and the other football players began a beautiful friendship that is extremely touching.

10. Mutant by Luke Dittrich

Usain Bolt is the fastest man on the planet. This profile of him is the best I’ve read. It goes deeper into what motivates this athlete and it gets personal – maybe too personal but it’s still insanely detailed. This is a must read for all of you that have heard his name but don’t know his story.

 

 

End Of March & Intro To April

Hey! I’ve loved writing about this month’s theme education all month. Hopefully you’ve learned some random facts or something like that. The month of April is going to be about sports: organized and unorganized. April marks the kick off to baseball season. While some of you may not care about it since this isn’t a sports blog, there’s still interesting stories and facts about baseball. I’m sorry if you find it boring, but hopefully you at least enjoy a good sports movie. I mean, Sandlot is a classic and I’ll definitely be talking about it a number of times during the month.

I plan on dedicating a lot of lists to different sports. For instance, I’m going to have a list of the ultimate sports movies then break some down by the main sports. I also plan on profiling athletes that everyone keeps talking about. For books this month, I’m going to talk about the best nonfiction sports books: both memoirs and biographies. There’s not a lot of great fiction sports books so I’m just going to do it that way.

This is just a little preview of what is to come. I plan on talking a little more about why I chose this theme and why you should care about it. That’s about it! Hope you guys stay with me this month.

March Madness Cinderella Stories

Since March Madness is currently going on, I thought it’d be an appropriate time to highlight some of the most incredible Cinderella stories in the history of the tournament. We all like cheering for the underdog and in each of these cases, the underdog was able to achieve awesomely unexpected things and win us all over in the process.

1985 Villanova

villanova basketball

This was a brutal Nova team that depended a lot on their defense. They didn’t often score but they also kept their opponents from scoring as well. They were an 8 seed and they easily made it to the title game against Patrick Ewing and his favored Georgetown team. The game was pretty close, but Villanova came out on top and beat them by 2.

2011 VCU

Donald Miralie/Getty Images

This team had to win a play-in game just to make it into the tournament. That alone shows you just how much of an underdog they were. They didn’t let that slow them down, instead they came out swinging. They took out great teams such as USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and then top seeded Kansas. The Kansas game was the most famous one due to how good the Jayhawks were that year. They would eventually lose in the final four against another big underdog Butler, but that doesn’t take away from what VCU was able to accomplish.

1983 NC State

This video gives me chills and makes me cry a little bit everytime I watch it. The 6th seeded NC State was able to pull off a buzz beater in the final seconds of the championship game. This is by far the best game as far as being neck in neck in a championship game that I’ve ever seen. One Wolfpack player attempts a three-point shot that is obviously something done just on a whim and probably not going to make it. Then all of a sudden, another Wolfpack player pretty much comes out of nowhere and dunks it up to win the game. It’s so heartwarming to see coach Jimmy V run out on the court where he famously ran around looking for someone to hug after the big win.

2010 and 2011 Butler University

Nobody predicted that Butler would have the success that they did two years in a row. The first time, they beat out number one seed Syracuse in the sweet 16, then Kansas State, and then Michigan State before the team took on yet another number one seed Duke in the national championship. The game came down to the wire, but Butler lost after a heartbreaking half court shot by star Gordon Hayward hit off the backboard. Despite this, Butler still came back the next season and eventually lost to Connecticut in the championship game. Although they never won, they still made history. The team became the first team that wasn’t a one or two seed to make it to back to back Final Fours. They also became the first team to beat one and two seeds before the Final Four in consecutive years.