A Novel Concept

Over the past few weeks, I heard a novel concept over and over again.  A top NHL draft pick reflected… a Ivy league lacrosse player mused… an ACC tennis player said… a world class rower thought… “enjoying playing could be a good idea for me.”  All are extraordinary athletes, but suspect their may be greater potential waiting to be tapped.

Obviously my tongue is firmly in check when I suggest that this is a novel concept.  Nonetheless, one that seems a bit too far from the immediate reality of elite athletes.  Seems like things are a bit askew… fun replaced by fear… imagination smothered by intensity… enthusiasm hidden by ego… delight overshadowed by discipline.  “Fun” has become a dirty word and lost its ability to resonate with competitive coaches and athletes.

You can decide if it is sad or encouraging that young men and women competing in sport have to stumble back to fun in their collegiate and young professional years.  I do know however that it is immensely valuable that this reconnection with “play” is made.  I am optimistic that there’s a Stanley Cup, National Championship, Ivy League title, head race victory, or some other form of great athletic accomplishment in the future of the above athletes.  Enthusiasm and “fun” will be essential on the competitive journey, without them dearths of potential will remain untapped and the greatest achievements left undiscovered.

“Play” isn’t just for child’s sports… it’s for high performance.

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