Winning the Game of Life
Welcome to the twenty-fifth edition of “In Touch.” As always, I would love to continue the conversation so please hit “reply” and let me know what you think.
Story of the Week: Winning the Game of Life
My 9-year-old son Rolando is turning into a quite talented young footballer, especially when he’s free to run with the ball, but when it comes to fighting for every loose ball and making sure he wins every tackle, he clearly lacks the necessary drive and aggression.
I have spoken to his coach, as well as to some of my friends who I consider experienced and smart and who have had a positive influence on their own children, about what could be done to ‘toughen him up’ on the pitch. I have even tried out some of the skills and techniques I use during mentoring sessions but to no avail.
Recently, as I was waiting to pick up my son from school, I struck up a conversation with George Georgiou, the CEO of Krypto Security, whom I consider to be a good friend as well as a savvy businessman. I began telling him about my concerns about Rolandos’ performance on the football pitch and George was quick to show me that my ideas were mistaken: “Michael,” he told me, “your son is a kind and sensitive boy. You’ve brought him up to be well-mannered. So, ask yourself this: Given a choice between him being a tough, aggressive football player or a more gentle and good-mannered young man, which would you prefer?” I am sure you know what my answer was, my dear friends.
“Your son is on the right path,” George said, “and you should be proud of him!”
I enjoy football and I know that, among the most valuable players in a team, some may have a reputation for being ‘hard’ but I also know that, like most fans, I admire those who show a sense of fair play, who don’t attempt dangerous tackles or try to fool the referee. They are the ones who are aware that, ultimately, football is only a 90-minute game and not the most important thing in life.
I am glad that my son is generally seen as a good player and — who knows? — perhaps he could become a great player one day but I am not sure whether the desire to win and beat an opponent is something that can be simply switched on and off before and after a match. I have come to understand that, as a father, I will be much happier if he doesn’t make the first eleven in football but is seen as a good and kind person in everything else he does. Football is only a game; Life is much more important.
Words of Wisdom
On the relation between sports and character
“Sports do not build character. They reveal it.”
On the importance of building character
“Character is the real foundation of all worthwhile success.”
John Hays Hammond
A Question to Ponder, dear friend.
“What is your suggestion for raising children of character?”
Hit reply and let me know.
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Michael R. Virardi