“Pride Still Counts”

On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS December 9, 2013 #466 Up next…”Pride Still Counts”

It has always been the belief of this writer that pride counts for something. The old saw states         “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Being proud of your effort is what life is all about. Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, Bernie Madoff and the like are examples of greed overtaking self-pride. As someone said, “Decent people don’t do things like that”.

In the sports world we see the lack of pride take its toll. As this football season comes to a close, some teams are playing out their schedule without a bowl or playoff opportunity. For players on those teams, their effort to perform at their best is a matter of pride. A mnemonic dissection of the word P-R-I-D-E might employ these words: P=Power; R=Responsibility; I=Integrity; D=Determination; E=Excellence. We’ll save a more complete explanation for another time.

What prompted this column/blog was a recent indicating that US teens lag in international tests. This was followed by Asian students outperform their global peers–and scored well above Americans– in tests of reading, math and science proficiency. We (the good ‘ol USA) have always proclaimed ourselves  the greatest nation on the planet. Not so, when US teenagers rank 26th in math, 17th in reading, and 21st is science—among 15-year olds in 34 countries.   As one comedian said, “Maybe we fall behind in the Three R’s, since only one of them actually begins with an R”. The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) is “aimed at what students really know and how they can apply their knowledge to the real world”.

This is not an effort to belittle anyone responsible for the education of our youth, but simply a wake-up call! How do we place a greater emphasis for our youth taking pride in everything they do? To develop pride in one’s effort may be the answer to improving those scores. Obviously, no one person or treatise would be able to solve this problem. But let’s try this idea:  “You play to win the game”, said former NFL head coach Herm Edwards. By that he meant you give your best effort every time.

Or as the legendary Grantland Rice once wrote: “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game”. The emphasis is on giving one’s best performance with the idea that if one does so –every time – the odds are success will happen. The effort to succeed will serve you well in all that you do. As parents and teachers we need to inspire the value of performance. Take pride in your performance and the results are inevitable.

Will you reward effort as long as it is the best effort from that person?

To contact Jim go to www.jimtunney.com or email him at jim@jimtunney.com

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