Mentality of an Athlete

<p><i>(In which EB talks about <b>'The Fumble'</b>)</i> <p>As time moves on, development becomes an intricate part of an athlete's psyche. The old saying is that either you get better or you really get better. Actually that's my saying. I feel like on each day and in each situation there is room for development. If you take the opportunity to learn from a bad experience, then you will make progress.

As a player's development continues, if that athlete is proud, the affects of his development becomes ingrained into the individual's though process. Also, a player will steadily start to take his successes failures personally.


As an athlete progresses along the natural path of maturation, the scrutiny that he is placed under intensifies immensely. The level of excessive coverage that is given to a certain athlete can be a mistake at times. Because of the level of support that is given to sports in our country, our players actions are seen as even more important than ever before. Thus, both on and off the field behavior garners a lot of attention from various circles of society, whether in a positive or negative light. The coverage and the need to have someone blamed for a loss or be made into a hero drives how a number of stories are written by journalists that are a part of the media. As we all know, the negative actions that a player exhibits gets the most attention from the fans and the athletes themselves.


Both the positive and negative press that a player receives can be looked upon as an extension of that particular athlete. When I state that the athlete takes his successes or non successes very personal, I am really speaking about the non successes because those failures tend to stand out the most. The negative press you receive stings pretty badly. The news sticks and stays with you, and when you receive criticism while playing at the level of major college and professional sports it becomes even more intense.


When I fumbled the football in Denver, I felt like I let everyone down on my team and in my family. That hurt me so deeply! I can't even explain to you what it did to me. Yes, I stood up and faced the media and said that I left everything out on the field, which was true, but I was struggling and did not know how the media would handle it. It was the next day's news coverage all over the country, and perhaps the world and the next week's talk show jokes that really affected me. I even had people tell me about some of the jokes that were said in their way of informing me while making light of the situation.


Now initially I was okay, and knew that the play was in the flow of the game but everyone else wanted it to be a constant part of my thought process. The travesty was that I let it stay with me based on what others thought instead of how my true friends and I thought of the play. I did not deal with this experience properly, so it stayed with me, and affected me personally while I was away from football and while I played on the field.


My point is that there is a way an athlete can be looked upon and how he deals with the scrutiny may be affected by the exposure of his mistakes. In knowing that the media has a job to do, and that a player should learn and grow from each experience he has; an athlete can and should be able to move past his mistake and continue to on his developmental path.


Life has this way of balancing out all of your personal experiences, so with each negative experience there will be a positive one that follows. If an athlete understands this mantra, than he should prepare as if his next experience could propel him from a goat, to a hero. If an athlete can look at the mistake he made, and become motivated to try harder and prepare more diligently in the future, than that person will be ahead of the curve and continue to develop into the type of player he wants to become.

Mistakes will be made often and focused upon, but the true champions look at each mistake as a new challenge and that experience helps to propel them forward.

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