Wittenberg Basketball -2 years
Track and Field
Everyone has Check Your Game moments in life. I define these as opportunities you face to make a free will decision - and that decision can either help you grow forward or backwards. Since I grew up as Gary's (the founder of CYG) much younger brother I have always been surrounded by his company and the mind set of making better decisions. While I probably have a hundred stories, I am going to share one about lifting weights and becoming stronger.
My Freshman and Sophomore years of High-School I was really starting to grow taller, and while that was great, it also meant I was leaning out even more then what I already was (picture above is from my sophomore year). I was so weak my Freshman year and had such a negative experience from IH Middle School that I actually decided not to play football out of fear. And while I absolutely had a great time playing soccer on the JV team as a Freshman, I was definitely running away from my opportunity with football.
I was convinced to play football my sophomore year and although I was getting an opportunity to kick and punt on the varsity team, I had failed to really address the issue of being weak physically. During this time was really when I started to realize I couldn't just rely on my natural abilities and that there are a lot of "extras" outside practice that can put you ahead of the game. My focus the next couple of years revolved around getting stronger, faster, quicker and bulking up some. As I look back, I wish I had done more in other really important areas such as nutrition, hydration, recovery, being happy and school work!
My Mom and Dad were gracious enough to buy a weight set for me - and from there I starting lifting (learning Olympic lifts from my older brother Gary). Most of these lifts were very new at the time to High-School athletes. What I started to see was that lifting was helping me gain an edge athletically in the sports I was playing. I started jumping higher, became more explosive and it also helped take away the fear of getting run over in football. By my Junior and Senior years, tackling someone became something I was much better at and that got noticed by my coaches, teammates and College recruiters.
I think a couple of keys to take away from Check Your Game and my short story:
I think its important to be self aware of life opportunfities
Have a desire to make the best decisions
Work hard to live out your goals
Be happy and confident with the outcomes of life.
Life isn't always going to be perfect, and it's certainly not easy at times, but I am confident that if you apply the Check Your Game concept to your lifestyle, it will help you grow in a positive direction.
Grady, thanks for sharing your story. Because of our age difference I wasn't able to be around you after I left High-School to help encourage you, mentor you and cheer you on in sports. I wish I could've found a way to do that because you needed support in a few areas. It's interesting also Grady because now with the knowledge I have, and probably with your knowledge as well, I think we both could probably address another aspect you were missing; the mental game. It's not just you who lack in these areas, but it's many kids. As we get older and learn more and gain experiences in life, do we finally start to develop this mental toughness. I know you needed to work on getting stronger and great job to begin that process, but for those kids out there that are struggling with sports, it's more than just a physical thing. How could I have helped you with the mental toughness I had learned as you were struggling? How could I have encouraged you with the things I had learned and dealt with to help make you tougher and stronger? What words could I have said to help you live life as an athlete as if you had gone through life another 10 years gaining a lot of experience, wisdom and strengthening your mental game? I did what I knew best at the time Grady, but today, I am trying to help other kids like yourself, not just through my story, but through the stories and advice from people such as yourself. Thanks for sharing and being transparent as I know you will be encouraging for others who are dealing with the areas you struggled with but learned to face! It's never too late to face fears and you came around to doing that. Great job! Gary