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What Does it Take to Be a Champion?

Becoming a champion is something every high school football player dreams of - but very few ever experience. Many kids wonder, "What does it take to be a champion?" but that question is the wrong question.

EVERYONE has the potential to be a champion. Asking what does it take to be a champion is passive - It implies being a champion is given. A champion is not something you're either born with or without. Becoming a champion means making an intentional decision to be a champion and make the sacrifices and decisions necessary to reach that level of accomplishment. Becoming a champion is not passive, and it doesn't happen by chance. Becoming a champion requires an active role on your part.

So what actions earn you the right to call yourself a champion? Legendary high school football coach, the late Ed Thomas articulates this best:

It takes more than being a good football player - more than being All-Conference, an All-American, or even All-Pro - to be a champion. This should be evident by those naturally talented individuals who don't work as hard as they can yet still make it to the professional ranks. Are such player's champions, really champions, in the true sense of the word? Not on your life.

A champion is not necessarily the guy who wins all the time. A champion is the guy who

prepares and strives to win all the time. He is concerned about the thrill of victory and suffers the agony of defeat. Yet more importantly, the true creed of a champion is the thrill of all-out effort brought through the agony of preparation. No football player who gives less than his best - either when playing the game or when training in preparation to play it - has the right to call himself a champion. In fact, any player who gives

less than his best in either regard is a cheater. He is cheating his coach, his team, and himself, and such a cheater can never be called a champion.

A champion rises at 5 AM to train, facing the numbing cold of a dark winter's morning instead of cheating by lying in bed. A champion sprints right through the pain barrier, instead of cheating by slowing down or quitting. A champion forces 'one more rep' and then 'just one more' out of a savage set of squats instead of cheating be letting up in effort. A champion sticks to good natural foods, instead of cheating by eating garbage food or drinking alcohol. A champion uses his lack of great natural ability to train harder, instead of cheating by using it as an excuse not to improve. And on the field, a champion reacts to getting hit by hitting back with everything he's got, instead of cheating by shying away from contact.

As a final word, remember that you are the one who decides whether or not you will be a

champion. For you and you alone are the one who decides if you're going to work as hard as you can. Not your coach. Not your doctor. Not your teammates. But You!!!

So let's get one thing straight. If you want to be a champion, get it in your mind right now that you're gonna train and play as hard as you can, and ain't nothing or nobody gonna stop you. For you are on your way to becoming a champion, and God help whoever gets in your way.

Now that we are perfectly clear, the real question you have to answer is, "Are you willing to do what it takes to be a champion?"

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