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Coach: Be positive

Dear Editor,

As athletic director of Demopolis High School I would like to take the opportunity to publicly thank our coaches and athletes on your outstanding accomplishments of this school year.

To our coaches, thank you for your dedication, hard work and leadership that it took to allow your teams to advance so far. Thank you mostly for loving our kids and teaching the type of character traits and leadership qualities that it takes for them to represent our school and community with such class in the athletic arena. Those same characteristics will go along way to ensuring that they become successful in their adult lives when their playing days are over. After all, the winning is great, but what we are really doing is helping to build great men and women who will become our leaders of tomorrow.

To our athletes, much has been said lately of our failures, our failures to win it all that is. Unfortunately, some only dwell on the negative. I prefer to accentuate to positive, I am so proud of you. I am proud of you for the way you attack the task at hand and for the great effort you put forth in an attempt to accomplish your goals. I am proud of you for the way you hold your heads high in both victory and defeat. You are able to do that because you know that you gave your best effort and that is all any of us can ask of you. Please do not listen to the critics who prefer to point out your errors. There is no such thing as a perfect human being, much less a perfect athlete. Even the pitcher who throws the so-called “perfect game” must have some good luck. He/she must be lucky enough to have a great defensive play made by one or more of his/her teammates. Or maybe just lucky enough to have the opponent make the mistake of swinging at a few bad pitches. I can promise you, there is no such thing as perfection in athletics, even though we constantly strive for it. To be champions, you must be very good and somewhat lucky. You are all champions, area champions, region champions, some are the champions of the entire southern part of the state, and one is State Champion. There are over 350 High Schools in our state who participate in athletics, a great number of them would love to experience just a little bit of our success. Please do not allow the expectations of others to rob you of your joy of playing the game. Bernard Kipling once said, ‘Winning and Losing, treat these two imposters just the same. Play the game and love it.” Early in my coaching career, after a particular tough loss, a good friend of mine gave me the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt.

Are You Strong Enough To Handle Critics?

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows that his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Sincerely,

Doug Goodwin

Athletic Director