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Earlier this Spring, Coach Derek brought a #09Crenzy (a combination of players from 09 Craze and Frenzy teams) team to compete in a tournament.  Through a surprisingly successful series of games, the team advanced to the finals on Sunday.  The game was very even for the entire first half, until a few misjudged calls from the referee left the girls trailing 3-0 early in the second half. The players were quickly confused and discouraged by the referees decisions, and were never quite able to get back in the game.

Before they went to receive their 2nd place medals, coach Derek had an important chat with them. “We can’t control the ref’s calls, we can only control how we respond. You can be upset. You can let it ruin your experience this weekend. Or you can choose to be proud of how well you played.”

Is that hard to do? Yes. Does it mean they won? No. Coach Derek made sure to talk to the refs to ensure next time they make the correct call. After all, refs are human and make mistakes too.

The girls decided to choose to look at the weekend as an overall success, not a demoralizing defeat, even when decisions that were outside of their control went against them. For that, they receive the “Ballin Character” award for April for living out self-control.

This May, we’re introducing Grit as a new core value, one of the couple that have been added to our 10 #BeyondTheField Core Values. These new core values will be revealed at our Open House on June 13 from 6-8pm at MSA Fieldhouse.

Click here to read an exceptional example of grit and how we can play a part of cultivating gritty players. The strong will to compete and to give it your best is contagious when one sees it in action. Many of us in competitive sports can think of that one teammate who consistently gave it their best. Not only in games but also in practice.

What if a whole team had the grit of Messi to spit out his tooth and keep playing, of Jordan to compete in the playoffs with the flu and not be able to walk off the court. The development, the fun, and the lessons learned would be amazing.

The hunger and drive to always give it your best applies not only applies to sports, but to school, work, relationships, or anything else in life. Never settle for anything but your best. On the tired days, on the hard days, on the rainy days, make the choice to always give it your best and continue moving forward. #GritHungry