Love the Process—Not the Success
Frank Russel, Director of Athletics
This summer, LCS staff read Climbing Parnassus: A New Apologia for Greek and Latin. In October, Mr. Reynolds and I presented to the staff on Climbing Parnassus within physical education and athletics. This article is a continuation of that talk.
As we were preparing for this presentation we came to the realization that the journey of mastering Latin and athletics are similar. In school, students often want the success of a big scholarship or admittance to the college of their dreams but refuse to accept the strenuous hours of dedicated practice one must undertake to achieve such mastery and success. Oftentimes, students watch professional athletes do unbelievable things and try to emulate them—I see this often in open-gym. Students will attempt to mimic a move they saw Steph Curry do on the court and fail. Most will continue these attempts rather than focusing on the building blocks that allowed Steph Curry the ability to do it.
Athletics, like class work, are merely building blocks of living the good life. Repeated practice at basic skills will create a solid foundation. All professional athletes spend countless hours laboring over the minutiae of their sport, ensuring they know every single detail of their game and their opponents. Very few pieces of information are left out. This repeated practice will develop a mind and body capable of hard work for years to come. When entering the workforce or college, students who have been exposed to such rigors are better prepared. They understand how to work hard and with intent. Students hoping to achieve their athletic goals should endeavor to do the same. A solid foundation will defeat even the most talented of opponents or toughest of tasks.
Liberty provides a framework for students to have academic success in the classroom. Whether students choose to take advantage of it is their choice. 9th-Hour is one of the greatest advantages our students have over other schools. A dedicated period in the day, it is a time when they can ask questions or seek help from their teachers. Yet, I often see students squander the opportunity. Roaming the halls, going to open gym, or sitting and talking with friends is not how you develop your academic acumen. Many of these same students are frustrated when they have to miss practice, or worse a game, because of academic ineligibility. When I look into their grades, I see missing assignments and poor test scores—signs of time not being used wisely. Completing and turning in homework is the most basic of academic skills, yet many fail. What will this lack of basic skill look like in the real world? Few would want to employ an unreliable person.
Developing a solid foundation of basic skills in the classroom and on the athletic field requires intense dedication to the craft. Success does not come before hard work. Teaching these lessons through athletics serveserves compliment to what students should be experiencing in the classroom.
Do not lose sight of the end goal. It is what the work is for. But understand, success does not come without sacrifice and lessons learned.