When I first opened a Twitter account, I figured I would explore the links and resources–follow some educational experts and gather information digitally. Like many others, I gained the confidence to network in small doses. Then it became habit to check the feed and lurk on various hashtags and edchats. Before I knew it, I was a connected educator and a regular on several chats. Now, I follow more than 2500 educators; I am part of a professional learning network.
When I created a Twitter account, I needed a handle that represents my identity and integrity. Those who follow me on Twitter probably recognize my handle @RESP3CTtheGAME more than my name. Ironically, what began as my integrity has become the identity of my digital footprint. Tweeps know they have to accommodate a 15 character handle (I apologize; I had no idea anyone would interact with me. Seriously!). However, they may not know is what it means.
Respect the game is my philosophy of coaching, teaching, and life. Yes, the game refers to baseball, but the English teacher in me loves the metaphor. To coach is to teach. To teach is to coach. Both represent my passion to learn, contribute, and create something greater than myself. In fact, family, teaching, and coaching are my purpose in life.
For seventeen years, my varsity baseball program has proudly carried the motto:
“Respect the Game”
Be on time…
run hard to first…
and wear your hat right.
The following is the opening page of our program handbook. It represents the identity and integrity of the Grafton Baseball Program.
Philosophy of Coaching – “Respect the Game”
“Respect the Game” means that we believe in the “Choose Your Attitude” philosophy (*adapted from the FISH Philosophy) in which players, coaches, and fans choose the attitude they approach any part of baseball with. Everyone has the opportunity to choose a positive or a negative attitude toward a task, challenge, skill, or part of the game. The attitude we choose affects everyone else around us. Sometimes we cannot control the circumstances of a situation, drill, call by officials, or other aspect of the game, but we can choose the attitude in which we react to these experiences. Attitude is a powerful influence and can change the outcome of an experience to be better or worse for everyone. As coaches, we encourage our student-athletes to choose a positive attitude in all they do on and off the field.
To “Respect the Game” is best expressed through our motto, “Be on time, run hard to first, and wear your hat right.”
“Be on time”
Responsibility: As a team, we win together, we lose together, and we can depend on each other. As members of the team, we are accountable for our actions on the field—our run, our hit, our out, our error, our successes, and our failures. As committed teammates, we take responsibility for ourselves and for each other in the choices we make off the field as well as on the field. We make no excuses!
Commitment: Refers to putting forth 100% effort to actively participate in practices, games, team activities, and off season training with a purpose. Athletes have a responsibility to the team for self-improvement in their physical and mental preparation to help the team succeed.
Trust: The bond between coaches and athletes, between teammates, within each athlete in his own abilities, and in the program. Unselfish teammates trust each other to fulfill their role without expecting personal accolades or praise. We remember to deliver a teammate’s glove and appreciate a batter who advanced a base runner. Believing in each other and what we are doing allows us to go out and play our best every day.
“Run hard to first”
Hustle: With many factors beyond our control, one constant is the assurance that we competed to the best our ability. Players who respect the game take pride in beating out an infield hit, taking an extra base, and sprinting on and off the field. They show pride in the way they represent their family, team, program, and school every time they play in practice or a game.
Determination: As competitors, we constantly strive to achieve success. We learn from each experience and use this knowledge to achieve our goals. Athletes earn respect by outworking the competition.
“Wear your hat right”
Pride: in the way we represent the team, the program, and the school. The greatest reward for hard work is earning the opportunity to wear the uniform on game day. Character is who we are when no one is watching, but the way we wear our uniform and our demeanor on the field reveal much about our respect for the game. Proud of our effort at the end of each day, we will leave the dugout neater than when we first arrived. True athletes demonstrate class and sportsmanship at all times, both on and off the field. This is what it means to be a Black Hawk and how we will be remembered.