And those athletes, many of them teens or very young adults, need to remember that there is great joy in doing something significant for other people. Whether it’s for teammates or for fans, players have the ability to lift up, inspire and bring joy if they take that opportunity. They also have the power to destroy, disappoint and use sports simply for their own advantages.
Anyone who’s tried to teach teenagers that the world doesn’t revolve around them understands why coach Mendenhall attempted what he did. The problem was, in addition to being too heavy-handed, it wouldn’t have accomplished what he wanted. He wants those young men to represent those values, and he wants the world to know it. That only happens, however, when those young men do that everyday with how they live, how they practice, how they play, and who they are off the field.
Slapping a label on something doesn’t make it so. If you want to stand for honor, show us something honorable. If you want to remind us BYU has great tradition, make history. If you want to show us the spirit of the Cougars, support the community that loves you in lots of meaningful ways.
They should be reminded that they play for other people because of what’s on the front of their jerseys.
But for the Cougars to be special, Kyle Van Noy and Taysom Hill have to be confident in and proud of who they are as individuals. When they are, it’s more likely that they’re willing to put their own needs aside, including individual acclaim, to benefit the team.
It isn’t just possible to be individually awesome and collectively impressive, it’s necessary if the goal is to accomplish something truly great.
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