For the last 10 years, my family has been involved in youth sports. Being parents of two energetic and competitive boys, it is safe to say that we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly of organized sports. Our concern is not whether a game is won or lost, though winning a championship is a wonderful feeling. Rather it is the integrity of which the game is played and how that is modeled to the players by the coaches. Coaches can display what is good about competitive sports: proper fundamentals of the sport, game preparation, and proper attitude and sportsmanship. They also can display the bad and ugly of competitive sports. If you look at team that models all that is right about youth sports, majority of the time that stems directly from the coaches. If you look at a team that models all that is wrong about youth sports, that as well stems directly from leadership.
A few weeks ago, my son and I watched the movie, More Than a Game, which documented the rise of what many say was the best high school basketball team of all time. There is no doubt that this team was loaded with talent, of which LeBron James was a part (perhaps you have heard of him). What hit me was the integrity of the coach, Dru Joyce II. The movie depicted Coach Joyce examining his own character and abilities as a leader because he realized what he was passing on to his players was more than the ability to win a basketball game. He was trying to instill character qualities that will be used beyond the basketball court. There is no doubt in my mind, that this team from St Vincent in Akron, Ohio would not have made many of their accomplishments if it were not for the integrity and character of their coaches and their ability to influence their team, which lead them to a national high school basketball championship.
Leadership matters. It matters in all areas of life. It makes or breaks sports teams, families, churches, organizations, businesses and governments. Leadership is simply the ability to inspire others to follow. It is the intrinsic influence of others in which the one leading exemplifies the life and character to motivate others to follow. Leadership is more than techniques and styles, it is more than offering an easy pragmatic solution to a problem. It is a lifetime of character building and wisdom which equips a person to lead and then passes on that wisdom and experience to others. This is what this series will be dedicated toward. And if you want to coach, teach or lead my sons, this is the expectation of the parents of Caleb and Hunter. Leadership truly matters.