It was a typical 7th-grade basketball practice at Stephen Mack Middle School in the winter of 1986.
At the end of practice, Coach Evans lined us up on the end line to run ladder sprints. (Ladders were the bane of our existence in 7th-grade basketball.)
I was a big kid and a little overweight so I really didn’t like sprints.
We were on the last leg of the sprint and Coach Evans blew the whistle for us to stop.
The team looked over to him as he was on the end line that we just touched.
Coach says, “We have to start over. Stark didn’t touch the line.”
I had a tendency to go just short of the line in my sprints.
I just made the entire team start over with the one thing we all hated more than anything in the world.
What a lesson to learn!
From that day forward I was never “the guy” who made the rest of the team run because I didn’t touch the line.
What does it mean to “always touch the line”?
Why is that important?
What does it mean to “Always Touch the Line”?
1. You hold yourself accountable.
You can’t be a leader and you can’t hold others accountable if you aren’t first accountable to yourself.
Being part of a team is all about accountability but it starts with you.
You will only be as good as you decide to be.
Never cheat yourself.
Never cheat your team.
Decide to be great!
2. Others can depend on you.
No one person is ever greater than the team.
In football, like any other team sport, you need to depend on the person next to you.
You may think your teammates don’t see you stopping short of the line but they do.
You won’t ever reach your potential.
You won’t ever be as successful as you want to be.
You will never be a leader.
If you aren’t willing to give maximum effort in practice then your teammates and coaches won’t trust you when it counts.
3. You understand what it takes to succeed.
All of these things speak to what you are made of.
This is what decides whether or not you have integrity.
What is your integrity worth?
This isn’t something kids are thinking about.
It’s a lesson we need to teach early on.
The earlier that our athletes learn about what it means to Always Touch the Line, the better their chance of success.
Not only in sports but in life.
Why is this lesson still important to me today?
Because it reminds me to always give everything I have to that which I am passionate about.
It reminds me that I can do anything with enough hard work.
It reminds me what it takes to be successful in everything that I do.
What will it remind you?
I hope you will always strive to “Always Touch the Line” in everything you do.
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