Coach is getting ready for the afternoon session at the Rec Center.
A very sullen Hector drags himself in, head down.
Hey Hector, what’s up? Ready for this afternoon? It’s going to be fun.
No Coach, I can’t come today…or any other day for a while.
What? How come, what happened?
I got my report card yesterday, and my Mom is mad at me. She says I have to come home everyday right after school until my grades get better.
Wow, how bad was the report card?
Not that bad, I only failed two classes.
Hold on a minute, you failed two classes. Are you are trying to tell me that failing only two classes isn’t that bad? Really?
Well, I mean…I did pass my other classes.
Hector, you are supposed to pass ALL of your classes. If you don’t, you end up falling behind, and that is no fun at all. I mean, right now you have to skip our afternoon sessions for a while, and you can’t be happy about that, are you?
If you had passed all your classes, would your Mom be mad at you?
Now, why did you fail these classes? What is the problem?
Well, I failed math because I just don’t get it.
Oh, so it’s not really your fault then, right? I mean it is math, and you just can’t do math, right? No way, no how, just can’t do it?
Oh, come on Coach. You know what I mean.
Not sure that I do know what you mean. So, let me ask you some questions.
Do you get homework?
Do you do it?
No, not really.
Do you think that not doing your homework hurt you,?
Yeah, I guess.
You guess? Hmm, do you remember when we first met?
Do you remember how you couldn’t do any of the exercises? You couldn’t keep up with the other kids. Remember telling me you just couldn’t do it?
Oh yeah, and I remember how you got mad at me for saying that.
Of course, because you were giving up on yourself. Without even trying to get better, you were looking to give up. Now, a few years later, can you do all the exercises?
You bet I can!
So, what changed?
I didn’t give up, I did the work, everyday, and after a while I started to get better.
That’s right, you did the work. Now you are one of the best in the room. See how hard work pays off? It takes time, but it does make a difference.
Now, if you did the math work, every night, do you think you would have failed?
Now, what was the other class you failed?
What? History, let me guess….another class you did not do the homework.
Yeah. I tried to catch up, but it was just too much reading and vocabulary.
Hector, if I asked you to do 10 push-ups a day, could you do it?
Now if you skipped a week, could you do 70 push-ups at once?
No, I can’t do that many at once.
See how letting your work slip, you fall behind, and then you set yourself up to fail?
Yeah, I do.
Now, what do I always say about what it takes to be a winner?
You gotta’ do the hard work now, in order to be ready to win later.
That’s right. If you do your homework, keep up with your readings, then come test time, you are ready to win.
Do the work, everyday, and be a winner!
Story By: Ned Campbell, a coach and teacher in Brooklyn, NY
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