Be a Champion of Character First
There is nothing as appreciated in any form of sport than a humble winner or a loser who praises his opponent. It’s refreshing to see this because it focuses our attention on the most important aspect of any game, and that is respect.
Respect is something we all crave. It is an inherent need of the spirit because it reminds us of our own true value and uniqueness. We are all unique. And that is something we can always be proud of and thankful for. Only when we truly understand our uniqueness and value is it possible to see it in others. The first thing in learning to be a good sport is to be kind to yourself. You see, “Charity begins at home.”
Another way to put it: Respect in equals respect out. Or, conversely: Garbage in, equals garbage out. What you invest in yourself will reflect outwardly to others. If we constantly beat up on ourselves, then we can be sure that this same negative attitude and disrespect will flow towards those around us. Similarly, if we think positively, speak positively and generally feel good about ourselves, then this same positive energy will follow us in our interactions with others.
Billiards, like all sports, can and should be a setting in which personal character—including integrity, respect, responsibility and fairness—are built. The essential elements of ethics in sports are honesty and integrity.
Winning is a consideration, but it is not the only one, nor is it the most important. Remember, we all got involved in billiards for fun and enjoyment first and foremost. We should never lose sight of that core motivation.
Rather than just striving to be champion of the world, first strive to be champion of character: a champion of integrity, honesty, and respect. Accept both victory and defeat with pride and compassion—never be boastful or bitter. Congratulate your opponent in a sincere manner following either victory or defeat.
Here is my five-step program for building a champion attitude:
1. Always respect your opponent and make the effort to genuinely congratulate or encourage them, leaving aside all ego, reservations, and insecurities.
2. Never demand respect but earn it through a professional and quality-based attitude. Respect should be welcomed and not stolen.
3. Believe in yourself. You are absolutely unique and special. Your set of skills and character are uniquely yours. Appreciate it and grow as a person to realize your true potential.
4. Never allow others to control or change your reality. The power others have over you is the power you freely give to them.
5. Stop all negative talk. Only speak what you want to happen in your life. Your words are literally molding your future right now, so choose them wisely.
Success in sports is not merely a matter of achieving victory, because victory without sportsmanship, dignity, or honor is hollow.
Be a champion of character first and build your success from a solid foundation within. If we look at the truly great champions of the modern era, a few notables come to mind: Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and Chris Evert. Each one of them shined not because of their amazing achievements but because of the way in which they conducted themselves on and off the playing field.
Co-authored by Paul Rodney Turner (BATman), inventor of the Allison Fisher Billiard Aim Trainer www.BilliardAimTrainer.com. Paul is also the CEO and founder of the Billiards Training Company, www.billiardstraining.com, which provides free online training videos on how to use the BAT.