Daddy, Do YOU think I"M LOVELY?

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"You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good." Jerry West

Great players, great coaches, great parents…. GREAT PEOPLE realize that LIFE is, indeed, a STRUGGLE. There is pain and discomfort every day; whether it's the pain of perfecting a skill, building a team, or even raising a family. And no remedy, no pill, no health plan is going to change that PAIN. Thus, we have to get used to the fact that "sucking it up", and playing HURT-enduring the pain and discomfort that goes with it- is a part of life, especially if we want to succeed.


Kerri Strug performing her heroic and historic vault.

One of the most famous examples in sport of an athlete "playing through the pain" was in the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, GA. 18-year old gymnast, Kerri Strug despite a severely injured ankle had to perform the vault to secure the gold medal for the U.S. women's team. She asked her coach, "Do we need this?" Her famous coach, Károlyi replied, "Kerri, we need you to go one more time. We need you one more time for the gold. You CAN DO IT…. you better do it." Strug limped to the end of the runway, ran and landed the vault briefly on both feet, almost instantly hopping onto only her good foot, saluting the judges. She then collapsed onto her knees needing assistance off the landing platform. The completed vault received the score of 9.712, guaranteeing the Americans the gold medal. And Kerri Strug became a national hero.


Olympic Champs!

Coach Bela Karolyi carrying the injured but triumphant Strug to the podium for the medal ceremony was so perfect. As a coach, he had urged Kerri to push through the pain; vault for herself, but more importantly vault for the team. As a coach he carried Kerri to the podium because she couldn't(of course!) but also to PAY TRIBUTE to her for what she had done, her painful but glorious sacrifice.

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A dad and his senior basketball playing daughter: I LOVE YOU, DAUGHTER! YOU, INDEED, ARE LOVELY!

Fathers, everyday, pay tribute to their daughters for their strength. This is an obvious truth. But often times this tribute is a quiet affirmation. Thus, many SportsLeader coaches are helping their fathers put MORE words to their ceaseless love for their daughters through the Father/Daughter Jersey Ceremony. When we do these ceremonies, dads routinely comment that they don't need to tell their daughters in a special ceremony that they love them because they tell them every day how much they love them. Upon participating in the ceremony, however, those very men realize how rarely they get the chance to PROCLAIM that love OUT LOUD to dozens of people, figuratively shouting it from the rooftops! And it gets emotional. Dads cry tears of admiration. Daughters cry too, hearing those words-I LOVE YOU-actually in front of other people-from the most important man in their lives-their DAD. Many marvel….I can't believe this is happening to me!


Stevie Wonder, in 1976, recorded one of his classics, Isn't She Lovely, to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Aisha. We, at SportsLeader, thought it would be fitting to showcase some pictures of the many Father/Daughter ceremonies( and a few of my own daughters, I couldn't resist!) SportsLeader coaches are doing in accompaniment to that song. The recording opens with the audio of a baby being born, so don't freak out!

SportsLeader Father/Daughter Ceremonies: Video Collage

We would love to see some of your favorite Father/Daughter pictures! We all have our favorites, so email them to us. Daughters, indeed, LOVE to hear from their dads, that they are lovely…..and dads LOVE to know their daughters love them back, too! We at SportsLeader LOVE to know we are helping those already strong relationships get STRONGER. We need these strong relationships to make it through this struggle called LIFE.

Together WE can DO IT!