It all started about 4 moths ago.
The snow was just making it’s exit.
The grass just beginning to pop it’s head out to see if it was safe to make it’s appearance.
And with it, about a dozen or so girls ready to lace up their soccer cleats for the upcoming season.
They would train in the rain and the evenings of a chilly spring. It would turn almost instantly into blazing summer sun with no shade in sight. Through all of it they were working for something bigger than themselves. They had their eyes on doing what, quite honestly, most thought they couldn’t.
You see…the team had won only 1 game the previous season. Yet, they knew that this year was going to be different.
They proceeded to turn heads and alter conversations. “Who were these girls?”
Before they knew it, they were in the league championship tournament as a final 4 contender.
They won the first game 2-1 with literally seconds to spare over a team many thought would eliminate them.
The championship was hard fought, and the fairy tale ending would be that they won that day.
A 3-2 loss. A season record of 7-3-1.
But that isn’t where the story ends…
The picture you see above is our daughter, Ella and her coaches Kevin and Paul.
You’ll notice the larger championship trophy and medal around her neck. Ella and all of her teammates were able to experience that moment one by one…smile by smile…cheer after cheer from everyone watching.
Here is how…
Two weeks after the league championship game loss the girls made a two day road trip to Clarence to play in a season ending tournament against teams from many counties…not just ours.
The competition would be intense.
To most people that didn’t know our girls, these “girls from the sticks” weren’t going to be much of a competitive factor.
Whoops…that wasn’t such a good thought.
Here is how it went down.
4 games. 4 wins and a title.
Clarence (4-3), Orchard Park (3-1), East Aurora (3-0) area and Grand Island (3-2).
All four teams found out that the hard work our girls had put in when no one was watching was the exact thing that would make them the best team (out of 8) in the entire age bracket they played in. They were all very talented teams, with very hard-working athletes. But this weekend our girls had something on the inside of them that was fueling them to finish a personal goal…
going all the way back to their first practice on that cold, wet spring evening.
So why am I sharing all of this with you? Well, it made me think of some conversations I have had the honor of having with people I care about lately. And this weekend sparked some questions that we all need to ask ourselves.
It goes like this.
We all want to finish on top…but are we really willing to put the work in not knowing if it will happen?
We all understand trophies and medals and what they stand for…but will we go first, start earlier, ignore the naysayers, and put our head down to do the hard work of leading, trying, innovating, sweating, becoming exhausted training and otherwise expending everything we have and everything we are?
Listen…if you want the results you need to ask yourself one simple question
and respond with a very carefully thought out answer.
Are you willing to go where most won’t go, do what most won’t do and bring what most won’t bring?
If you aren’t…
Pictures like this, and results like the girls achieved are mere posters we look at longingly…
Not really who we are internally.
Don’t get me wrong…this isn’t a “toot their horn, look at what they did picture…bragging thing”.
It’s a…”holy cow…can you believe that we just did that moment?”.
I was there. I watched the reaction of every player, coach, parent, sibling, grandparent, cousin, etc…
It was months of preparation…and the joy that followed seeing their faces beam with excitement as they ran into each other’s arms in celebration of all that they had accomplished…together.
It was the culmination of intentional decisions to work hard from day one. It was about investing blood, sweat and tears into relationships that could withstand anything over time. It was about a team that didn’t want to say they were good…they wanted to earn it, prove it and experience it…
to themselves and for each other.
And they did just that.
The unthinkable to many…but not to them.
The impossible to many…but not to them.
The unlikely to many…
but not to them.
And certainly not to us. (We had the bird’s eye view of their progress…and that was SO much fun to watch).
We knew they were ready for the Clarence tournament challenge.
So what is it that you are ready for that it’s time to tackle?
What is it that you want so bad?
What is it that you are being called to go after with everything you and your team can?
Let’s re-visit the question I mentioned earlier…and you tell me…
Go where most won’t go, do what most won’t do and bring what most won’t bring to make it happen?
I hope so.
Because that is the only way you leave a legacy.
And that is what we are talking about here, right?
Not just a trophy and a medal…
but an example others can follow.
The opportunity to be a leader of influence that opens doors for many more people to go after their calling and experience all of the joy that goes with that journey.
I hope you go after it.
I am rooting for you.
I believe in you.
You’ve got this.
Now go get started!