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“What a lesson for these young people, that if you share, you give up some of yourself for everyone around you, if you care more about your teammates than yourself, it’s amazing what you can accomplish,” Kentucky coach John Calipari after winning the 2012 NCAA national championship.

In modern day sports, we’re so used to seeing one or two superstars make-up a team.  They get all the money, all the attention and all the praise.  Very rarely do you see players acknowledge the value of sacrifice for something greater.  Sure they might preach personal sacrifice, i.e., all that time they’ve spent in the gym to become faster or stronger, but that’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about sacrificing yourself for something greater than yourself.  I’m talking about sacrificing yourself for your team/organization.  But this is rare.

Look no further than college basketball in the US (NCAA) where players are brought into a program for one year to market their talents and then leave for the professional league (NBA).  Rather than marinate in a program that would develop their skills as an athlete, as a scholar and as a human being, they have their sights set on other things (personal goals).  Can you blame them?  Not really.  The system we have in place is setup for this type of turnover.

At a larger scale, and more so than ever, our world is asking that we focus on ourselves, our looks, our health, our well-being.  We have more self help books than we know what to do with.  Our world is moulding us this way and it needs to change.

I was absolutely ecstatic to hear Kentucky coach Calipari say what he did after winning the national championship.  The quote isn’t something out of the ordinary, but there is something unique about it.  For the first time in a while, I’m seeing someone talk about focusing less on yourself and more on a greater cause.  Beautiful.

This all translates to our beautiful sport of soccer.  When you learn that the teams/organizations success is more important than your success, you will reap much larger benefits.  It’s not to suggest that you shouldn’t invest time in yourself – and a large amount of it – but it’s to suggest that sacrificing yourself for a greater cause is what it’s truly about.


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