At 850 Elite, our motto is “Attitude is Everything!” When we say that, we don’t mean the kind of attitude you see on Dance Moms or any other reality television program that rewards people for dramatic behavior. Our attitude is based on the philosophy that if you show up ready to work hard and persevere, you can do just about anything. It has nothing to do with winning, but winning is a by-product of concentrated effort and fundamental skills training, as evidenced by the results at last weekend’s 12U-14U Regional Championships.
After two days of Dory-like determination (just keep digging, just keep digging), Coach Ligia’s 14 Blue team WON THE GOLD, and Coach James’ 14 Grey team WON THE SILVER. Coach Lani’s 13 Blue team finished a close second in gold, and Coach Hannah’s 12’s finished a hard won third. Coach Moriah’s 12’s and Coach Jackie’s 13 Blue played the best they’ve played all season, and, as a Director, I got to experience the next level of 850 Elite attitude: gratitude.
As I sat on the bench of each team, reminding girls of how much they can control with a steady can-do attitude and hard work, I was flooded with a sense of hope for our future. Not just the future of 850 Elite, but more importantly the future of all these amazing girls and their families. I could actually SEE the effects of a focus on grit and resilience. Our teams would get down 5 or 6 points, and they wouldn’t fall apart. I watched other clubs disintegrate after a few mistakes, with players snapping at each other and at their coaches. And we just kept working. Our teams supported each other through the good times and the bad. They kept it together, and they stayed connected, regardless of the score. THAT. IS. WINNING.
The story was much the same at 15U-18U Big South National Qualifier in Atlanta. Parents and coaches reported how well their players hung together and supported each other. And we had top 10 finishes for three out of 5 teams, the highest finish for any club in the Gulf Coast Region in each division!! Coach Sammys 18U finished 5th overall, Coach Karson’s 17U finished 5th in the Gold Bracket of the USA division, and Coach Matt’s 16U finished 4th in the Gold Bracket of the American Division. Coach Lab’s 15U won their flight, and Coach Gil’s 16U came in 3rd in their flight. So much gratitude!
David and I began this experiment in resilience, as a way to heal Girl World. Having four girls showed us that drama was killing Girl World, leaving broken-hearted, lonely girls in its wake. We started 850 Elite, because we saw the difference team sports made in our youngest, who is going on to law school after playing volleyball in college. This is the first season that I have taken the time to stop long enough to celebrate what we have created. I highly recommend the exercise! What are you grateful for in your life? Seat heaters? Talenti Gelato? Sticky kisses from your baby, or grand baby? Stop and write it down, then savor the feeling! After a few tries, you will see why I think we are all so lucky to have each other!