For the past two weekends, Ive had the opportunity to attend the Wisconsin district and regional wrestling tournaments. The gyms have been filled with screaming fans and participants. It was a great experience to see so many people supporting these high school wrestlers. In Wisconsin, high school wrestling is near the equivalent of high school football in many states.
The real reason for this column is what I discovered in the Wrestling 07 program that I picked up at the tournaments. It not only included the standard rules, definitions of wrestling terminology, team photos, past records, it also had one particular page that really caught my attention.
The page was headlined with the question What is a Champion? It then gave the Champions Creed:
Champions get up one more time than they have been knocked down.
Champions give their all, no matter the score.
Champions do what is right, even when it hurts.
Champions know winning is not necessarily measured by the final score.
Champions take a stand for what is right, even when they stand alone.
Champions see every challenge as an opportunity.
Champions make those around them better.
Champions do the right thing, even when no one is watching.
Champions dedicate themselves to prepare for success.
Champions put the success of others above individual achievement.
Champions understand winning is not the only thing.
Champions live by a higher personal standard.
Champions stand firm when others around them fall.
Champions live by what they speak and speak what they live.
Champions lay down their own desires for the benefit of others.
Champions willingly accept responsibility, and graciously deflect honor.
Champions never sacrifice what is best for something good.
Champions may fail…but they never quit.
I hope this is one column parents and coaches will cut out and share with their student athletes. I think its necessary to remind them about what is really important in sports. In this age of multi-million dollar contracts, combined with the its all about me athletes of todays professional sports, I think its worth taking a second look at what really defines a champion. I hope you agree.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Feb. 21-27, 2007, issue