Attitude Makes All the Difference

Running Shoes           “Who is that kid in the back row?” I whispered to the English teacher.  “Oh, that’s the good basketball player, Danny”.  “But isn’t he wearing a band tee shirt?” “Yes, he’s on drum line,” the teacher whispered back. Since when does an athlete participate in band? I heard about Danny before school started, he was supposed to be a phenomenal basketball player. What caught my attention as I made the presentation to the Freshman English class was his attitude. He had not taken his eyes off of me throughout the presentation. He smiled and laughed at exactly the appropriate moment; he listened attentively and was completely engaged. He even said “thank you” to me as he left the classroom! Who was this kid?

As time went on, our school watched as Danny led the varsity basketball team to four state championship games. He tackled almost every sport on campus. He led badminton, tennis, and track to state championship titles. He was hands down one of the best athletes ever to walk the halls of our school. However, what he is remembered for the most is his attitude. Danny always tried his very best with a “can do” attitude. His wide smile stood heads above the other students as he walked down the halls. That great attitude carried him to a four year college athletic scholarship and onto a professional career and national championship. His picture even made the front of a cereal box!

On the other hand, we had another student with great athletic ability at our school. He, like Danny, came in as a freshman with all kinds of promise and anticipation. However, his attitude was not the positive “can do” attitude. He immediately was in trouble academically and not able to play. His mom called a parent teacher conference and told the teachers why he did not have to turn in homework. That suggestion did not go over very well with the school staff. His attitude was that of arrogance and entitlement. Rather than getting more involved in school, he became more defiant and rebellious. By his junior year of high school he was far behind on the credits necessary to graduate and looking to change school programs.

These two students could not have been more similar in their ability level and more different in their view of life. One looked at new and different activities as opportunity and one looked at new and different activities as punishment, chastisement, and retribution. This student’s first thought was, “Why should I have do that and prove myself”; whereas, Danny’s first thought was “How can I be more involved and try more things”. One student went far and one student burned out. Ability is a great thing to have, but ultimately, in the long run, attitude is what makes all the difference.

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