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Athlete's Reminder: "You can either find a way or you can find an excuse, but you can't do both."

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The Guy In the Glass

by Dale Wimbrow

When you get what you want in your struggle for wealth
And the world makes you king for a day
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your Father or Mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the one staring back from the glass.

Some people may call you a straight shooting chum
And say you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest
For he’s with you clear to the end
And you have passed your most dangerous test
If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

by Wilbur Braithwaite

Do you want to run ‘til your lungs are tight,
Do you want to hustle with all your might,
Do you want your shirt soaking with sweat,
Work, my son, you’ll be a champion yet.

Can you take bad breaks in a hard fought game,
Can you be way down and fight just the same,
Can you face the task with a goal that’s set,
Steady, my son, you’ll be a champion yet.

Is your spirit inside a burning flame,
Is your want to strong, or feeble and lame,
Is your eye on target, a goal to be met,
Fire-up, young man, you’ll be a champion yet.

Do you feel the sting of blisters you’ve worn,
Do your legs grow limp from bucking the storm,
Do you study odds and know the best bet,
Listen, my son, you’ll be a champion yet.

Will you live like a Spartan and always train,
Will you tame your passions for self and the game,
Will you obey the rules that you have set,
Discipline, lad, you’ll be a champion yet.

Do you hear voices cry out every mistake,
Do you fear the jeers for errors you make,
Add plus with minus to balance the net,
Patience, my son, you’ll be a champion yet.

Can you lose yourself in competitive fire,
Can you lift up your game going down to the wire,
Can you rise from defeat once the verdict is set,
Defiance, my son, you’ll be a champion yet.

It’s not in the score as much as the mind,
It’s not in the glory, the fame, or the kind,
It is in the motto, “You must give to get,”
Hang in there, son, you’ll be a champion yet.

It Couldn't Be Done

by Edgar Guest

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
 And he started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle right in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
 And start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.


by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;

If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!


A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.  One day a small opening appeared.  He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours  as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.  Then it stopped, as if it couldn't go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.  He took a pair of scissors and  snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.  The butterfly emerged easily but  it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,  expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge  and expand enough to support the body,  Neither happened!  In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life  crawling around.  It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness  and haste did not understand:  The restricting cocoon and the struggle  required by the butterfly to get through the opening  was a way of forcing the fluid from the body  into the wings so that it would be ready  for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly  what we need in our lives.  Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.  We will not be as strong as we could have been  and we would never fly.


Finally, one of Coach Wooden’s Favorite Little Poems:
(he found this in a barbershop)

At God’s footstool to confess,
A poor soul knelt and bowed his head.
“I failed,” he cried. The Master said,
“Thou didst thy best, that is success.”


Do you have a favorite poem that helped you as an athlete? If so, share it on Coach Traub's Mental Skills Training Facebook Page here.