When people talk about having the “Heart of a Champion”, they are referring to an athlete or team’s ability to persevere in bad circumstances. True champions overcome bad circumstances on a regular basis. That is what separates the champions from all the others. Seems like lately we are seeing less championship athletes, teams, and coaches. We are only seeing more of the teams that are hoping to get there. I hope that the trend will not last and professional sports will take a turn towards a brighter future.
In professional sports, two types of athletes represent the majority of the players. The first type is a professional athlete that is good but never a champion. The second type is the championship athlete who can win “The Big Game.” The main difference between each type of athlete is how they handle adversity.
Adversity is defined as state of hardship or affliction; misfortune. Professional sports athletes deal with adversity all the time and recently, we have seen quite a few good examples. In the NBA playoffs, we can see clear examples of not only players, but also teams that handle adversity in a bad way. In addition, we can see examples of teams that handle adversity in a good way.
The NBA Playoff Finals start today and how the two teams managed to win their last playoff series is by overcoming adversity in multiple games. Both the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks had games where they had to overcome double digit deficits in the 4th quarter to win. Both teams accomplished the comeback with a little more than five minutes left. The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks could have seen the deficit as impossible to overcome. Instead, the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks buckled down and rose up to meet the challenge.
The Heat and Mavericks showed they have a heart of a championship team. Their two opponents were the Oklahoma Thunder and the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls and Thunder did not know how to handle adversity. When things started to go south for both teams, the Bulls and Thunder panicked.Oklahoma City and Chicago froze under the pressure of the Conference Finals. With each play, the Bulls and Thunder watched their chances slip away. We can see that neither team had experience in how to “right the ship” so to speak when they were sinking.
Another good example that just came to a conclusion recently is the current situation going on with Jim Tressel, who coaches Ohio State Football. Tressel and some Ohio State football players were involved in a scandal. The Ohio State Football players, which included Terrell Pryor, the star Quarterback, sold Ohio State memorabilia for profit and also received special benefits from car dealerships. The result for their actions was the NCAA suspended the five Ohio State players for five games for the upcoming college football season. Tressel took it upon himself to make sure all of the Ohio State players were going to return for this new college football season. It looked like Tressel was handling the adversity well. That was until yesterday when Tressel resigned as the head coach. The pressure became too much for Tressel and he folded under it.