A Thousand Spotlights

I’m writing over at Friday Night Wives! Here’s a preview:

 might be the last person in the USA to watch The Greatest Showman, the movie loosely based on the life of P. T. Barnum.

I sat and watched with a lump in my throat wondering, “Why is this familiar?”

And then the song “Never Enough” started, and as the song lyrics repeated, I realized I recognized this story.

All the shine of a thousand spotlights

All the stars we steal from the night sky will never be enough for me

Never, never, never, never.

While this song is considered a love song by most, I think it’s important to take note that the story line reveals the character is pursing the one thing that is out of reach.

A few months ago Jordan wrote an article about a high school coach resigning, and we all clapped and cheered because we needed someone to speak up for the frustration many coaching families are dealing with at every level of athletics. Her reminder for athletes to work hard at their craft, to overcome adversity, and to be excellent teammates was true and important.

The issue of parents owning their children’s successes as their own has been in the news a lot lately thanks to Operation Varsity Blues, but I think there is space for everyone in athletics to take time to self-reflect. Chasing spotlights, popularity, fame or prestige in the athletic arena is a multifaceted issue that can cripple any team or coaching staff or coaching family.

Athletes don’t need their parent’s help to chase the spotlight these days. The dream to make it big in athletics is fed by social media and sometimes local community attention which can feed a false narrative about the realities of the recruitment process and the likelihood of going D1 on a full ride.

The hunger for approval from the masses is so prevalent with athletes, NBA players are acknowledging their addictions to social media and closing accounts and NFL players are writing about divisions in locker rooms due to social media.

If professional athletes are unable to create a healthy balance with athletics and social media, why would we expect high school students to avoid the hunger of this approval from fans?

We can start by helping our athletes understand from a young age that they are more than their athletic abilities. While it is true some will go on to compete at the highest levels, many more will take the principles they learn from competitive sports and apply them in their careers.

Our athletes will serve in the military, become teachers, lead fortune 500 corporations, build small businesses, and they will be excellent co-workers and bosses because they were taught by coaches that you don’t quit when things are hard.

We need to teach our most talented players they thrive when they elevate everyone around them instead of encouraging them to grab the spotlight for themselves. A great receiver only catches a ball because it is thrown to him. A quarterback who runs play after play does so because his offensive linemen consistently block well.

Read the rest over at Friday Night Wives

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