Unselfish, inspiring, intelligent, ethical, decisive, tough, confident, patient, positive, disciplined, competitive, hard working, courageous, empathetic, compassionate, faithful, energetic. Recently, these were some of the words my leadership class came up with when asked to name the characteristics of a good leader. Certainly there are more, and, to be sure, even the best leaders are lacking in one or more of these areas.
I bring this up because, as my class was debating these words and discussing them, I realized how every one of these qualities can be nurtured through your child’s athletic experience here at the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks.
Through competition, your child is forced to work with others. For a lot of our student athletes, the only times they are held truly accountable for their effort is the world of competitive athletics. What, you didn’t work as hard as your competition? You lose. And in athletics, there are no do-overs. The finality of the results you reap are engraved in history forever, be it in a score book, a newspaper article, or if you are lucky, a rug on a wall.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting with a 1975 graduate of Monroe, Dana Pruhs. Mr. Pruhs is the proud owner of Pruhs Construction, one of the biggest privately-owned Alaskan civil construction companies. For two hours I listened and learned about the path taken by this incredibly successful man. During the discussion, Mr. Pruhs mentioned the concept of Theory Vs. Reality. He talked in great length about how schools—high school and college—spend their time teaching theory, and while theory is all well and good, when you get out in the real world, you have to deal with reality. And where did Mr. Pruhs feel he best learned to handle reality? You guessed it: through his athletic experience here at Monroe Catholic High School.
It doesn’t matter whether your ability to handle reality comes from running on a trail, being hit so hard you have the breath knocked out of you on a football field, charging the net on a tennis court, or staring down a curve ball without flinching in the batter’s box. Wherever your child learns to handle the pitfalls of life, he or she will be all the better for it.
I am amazed when I learn of the highly successful people the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks has produced and as I watch our athletic teams compete, I cannot help but wonder, who will they become? None of us can be sure, but I am confident the reality they are learning as Monroe Catholic Student Athletes will ultimately give them the best shot at success. Who knows? Maybe some day I will be sitting down with one of your children, discussing their success, in hopes of sharing it with my leadership class.
This story is reprinted from The Full Curl, published weekly by Coach Ostanik. You can find Coach O and Monroe Athletic results on Twitter @thefullcurl.