A very sullen Hector drags himself in, head down. “Hey Hector, what’s up, asked Coach Campbell. Are you ready for this afternoon? It’s going to be fun.”
“No Coach, I can’t come today.or any other day for a while,” answered Hector. What? How come, what happened, asked Coach?
“I got my report card yesterday, and my Mom is mad at me, said Hector. She says I have to come home every day right after school until my grades get better.”
Coach looked a Hector, saying “Wow, how bad was the report card?” Hector answered, “Not that bad; I only failed two classes.”
“Hold on a minute,”said Coach. “You failed two classes. Are you are trying to tell me that failing only two classes isn’t that bad? Really? 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?”
Hector looked miserable, as he shook his head no.
Coach asked, “Would your mom be mad at you, if you had passed all your classes? Probably not. Now, why did you fail these classes? What is the problem?”
“Well,” answered Hector, “I failed math because I just don’t get it.”
Coach answered, “Oh, so I guess that it’s not really your fault then; I mean it is math, and you just can’t do math. Do you get homework?”
Hector nodded yes.
Coach asked, “Do you do it?”
Hector shook his head no.
Then Coach shook his head, saying, “Do you think that not doing your homework hurt you?”
Yeah, I guess,” answered Hector.
“Hmm, said Coach, “do you remember when we first met?”
Hector nodded yes.
“Do you remember how you couldn’t do any of the exercises? You couldn’t keep up with the other kids. I remember your telling me you just couldn’t do it,” said Coach.
“Oh yeah, and I remember how you got mad at me for saying that, said Hector.
“Of course,” answered Coach, “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,” answered Hector. “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,” answered Coach. “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?”
“No way,” said Hector.
“The second class you failed,” asked Coach, “was it history?”
Hector turned red in the face and answered, “I didn’t do my history homework every night. 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?”
“Easy,” said Hector
Coach asked,”If you skipped a few weeks, would the pushups be harder to do? If you got behind in practicing would you be setting yourself up to fail?”
“Yeah,” said Hector.
Coach asked, “What do I always say about what it takes to be a winner?”
Hector broke into a big grin, saying, “You gotta’ do the hard work now, in order to be ready to win later.”
Coach smiled and said, “That’s right. If you do your homework, then come test time, you are ready to win. Do the work, everyday, and be a winner!”
Story By: Ned Campbell (Coach Campbell), wrestling coach and teacher in Brooklyn, NY