I only loosely follow the American football, but I am told that Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is one of the best football throwing men, if not the best in history. I've also heard that Bill Belichick is one of the most successful former Division III Lacrosse players at coaching American football.
Now 40 and still playing at a high level, Brady's work ethic has only grown more legendary by the year. Perhaps you've heard about it, and there's a lot to be learned from what he has accomplished. As long as you don't follow the part that says proper hydration will save you from sunburns, which is about on the same level as some of the more byzantine swimming "training" methods. But I digress.
Brady's legend grew out of the fact that in a certain point of time, many wise football men did not think that he would be one of the best ball throwers. To me, that is the interesting part of the story, when I think about what we do as coaches.
Why did so many people miss that Tom Brady was going to be great? Because he wasn't, yet. He came to the NFL Draft combine in 2000 and completely bombed, particularly in terms of his physical fitness. Tom Brady was not working (that) hard in 2000.
He was 22 going on 23 before he started to figure out what he needed to do to reach his ultimate potential. His lack of drive at that age meant that he nearly missed out on even playing professionally at all.
I think about this while I'm watching a high school freshmen loaf his way up and down a pool, legs immobile as if he's got an imaginary rope binding his ankles. I remind myself when he stops short of the wall to make a joke to his friend. Does it make me angry? Of course it does.
So let's remain optimistic. We ought to be hopeful that people can figure it out, and that many of them will need abundant chances to do so.
I remember being a teenager. I did not walk uphill both ways, in the snow. I did a lot of boneheaded things and wasted my potential and acted like a jerk when any well-meaning adult tried to talk to me about it.
Somewhere out there, some part of Lloyd Carr is probably pissed that Tom Brady didn't figure out how to be TOM BRADY a little sooner. That's just how it goes sometimes.