© 2008


Introduction..............................................................................................3 Chapter 1: Humility..................................................................................5 Chapter 2: Loyalty....................................................................................8 Chapter 3: Courage................................................................................10 Chapter 4: Perseverance.......................................................................12 Chapter 5: Self-Control..........................................................................14 Tying it Together: The 11 Commandments of Character...............16 References...............................................................................................19


During the 2002 season, Ohio State freshman Maurice Clarett had an outstanding season. Despite missing six games due to injury, Clarett still managed to post an astounding 1,325 yards for the season. To cap it all off, Clarett scored the game winning touchdown in the Tostidos Fiesta Bowl, giving the Buckeyes their first national championship since 1969. A few years after leading his team to victory, one would expect Clarett to be playing in the NFL. Where is Maurice Clarett today? He's in a state penitentiary serving a heavy sentence for armed robbery. The more pertinent question is what is his great 2002 season doing for him now? Absolutely nothing. Sports can be an enjoyable and exciting experience. However, if that experience is merely about winning games and hearing the crowd cheer, then it will not last very long. Glory on the field or on the court only lasts a short while and once it's gone, it does very little for you. On the other hand, participating in sports can also give you something that will be of great benefit for the rest of your life. It's not fame, glory, or thrills...It's character. Character is a misunderstood term in our society. To some, character is about adhering to a set of correct principles or values. Once you understand the principles, then you should be able to act accordingly. When I examine cases such as Maurice Clarett, it appears that people know what the right thing is. However, what they lack are the skills to do what is right. Having character is about possessing those skills to function as a good human being should. The classical Greek philosopher Aristotle called these skills virtues. Virtues cannot be gained by merely hearing about them or reading about them. One must be trained to develop virtue. Virtues must be practiced. Football coaches, can you imagine teaching players to tackle just by showing them a video of tackling, discussing how to tackle and even demonstrating a proper tackle? Of course not! Basketball coaches, for your next practice, why don't you sit the kids on the bench and spend two hours telling them about how to dribble, shoot, pass, and play defense? That would be really silly! In order for players to master these skills, they must practice them. Character is no different, for as Aristotle said, “ Men become builders by building houses, and harpists, by playing the harp. Similarly, we become just by the practice of just actions, self-controled by exercising self control, and courageous by performing acts of courage.” Once a person has acquired these virtues through training, they will consistently act in a manner that is congruent with those virtues. If a player has mastered the skill of tackling, when it comes time for a game, that player will consistently make good tackles. However, that same player may miss a tackle, but for the most part, that player has become a good tackler. On the same note, a person who has mastered a skill like humility will demonstrate that skill on a regular basis. They may mess up on occasion, but for the most part, that virtue will be ingrained deep within them. From this approach, character becomes more about who you are rather than about what you do. The question moves from, “What do I do?” to “What kind of person do I want to be.”

4 The purpose of this book is to explain to coaches and athletes how they can practice five core virtues in their routines of practice and competition. The five core virtues are Humility Loyalty Courage Perseverance Self Control In order to give these virtues substance, an authoritative story is needed to define and demonstrate what these virtues are. I happen to be a Christian, so I will use the story of Jesus Christ to accomplish this. In doing this, I am not trying to convert anyone. I am merely trying to illuminate what these virtues are and prevent them from being vague abstractions. Hopefully, these virtues will fit into whatever story you find authoritative and can still be useful regardless of what your personal beliefs happen to be. Each chapter will attempt to answer four questions. 1. What is this particular virtue? 2. Why is it important in life? 3. Why is this virtue important to athletes? 4. What are some practical tips for developing this virtue in athletics? I hope that reading this book will help coaches and athletes develop skills that will enable them to lead productive and fulfilling lives.


Chapter 1: Humility
A few years ago, Budweiser had a hilarious advertising campaign featuring a football player named “Leon”. One commercial seemed like it would start off sincerely. After the reporter asked Leon what his thoughts on the game were, he began to say, “Football is a team sport…” You expect him to take part of the blame and critique his performance. Instead, he says, “I’m going to have to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of my supporting cast.” He goes on to rant about how is teammates aren’t helping him out. In another commercial, Leon thinks he can best help the team by sitting on the bench and letting the TV cameras focus on him. While playing for the New Orleans Saints, Ricky Williams appeared at interviews wearing his helmet. The reason he did this is because his social anxiety disorder made him afraid of the reporters and of the attention he was getting. His disorder made him extremely shy and to him, his helmet hid him from the reporters. Which one of these examples demonstrates humility? The answer is that neither of them do. When we think of humility, we tend to have the picture of Ricky Williams in mind; extremely shy, and almost afraid to be noticed. However, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states, “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.” Being humble is about putting the needs of others ahead of yourself. Jesus demonstrated this in John 13:4-5, 12-17. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘ Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.” To understand Jesus’ actions, you need to understand some aspects of the culture this was written in. First of all, the disciples wore sandals, which means their feet would really have the opportunity to get dirty. Next, they did not have a sewer system back then. Sewage was thrown in the streets, which the disciples walked through in their sandals. Third, the main mode of transportation in that time was animals and you can bet that the animals did not always wait until they got to their stall to go to the bathroom. So you can see that the disciples’ feet were really nasty! Washing peoples’ feet was something that only slaves did. What is ironic is that Jesus, who was fully God, acted as a servant to his unfaithful disciples. He put them ahead of himself and he urged us to do the same.

6 The reason humility is so important is that it is the only way that we can build cohesive, peaceful relationships. The Bible says, “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.” In another passage, the Bible says, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don't they come from the evil desires at war within you?” It becomes clear that selfishness brings chaos, quarrels, and fights. When people stop demanding their own way, and start looking out for the well being of others, people are less likely to become hostile. Because humility facilitates cohesive relationships, it is especially important in an athletic context. It is easy to see that a team that is squabbling has a very difficult time reaching their full potential. Looking at Terrell Owens' last season in Philadelphia can verify that claim. Because of his selfishness, teammates were constantly bickering in the media and the Eagles had a very mediocre year. In the 2004 NBA Finals, the 3 time defending champion L.A. Lakers were highly favored over the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers had loads of talent with future hall of famers Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton. All through the season, the media had reported soap operalike contention between Kobe and Shaq. Within 6 Games, the less talented Pistons had toppled the juggernaut Lakers because they played hard and played together as a team. Humility is what allows this to happen. Humility also has a different function in athletics and that is the idea of being coachable. When athletes are so full of themselves, they have a hard time taking input from others, namely their coaches. Coaches have insight and experience beyond what most athletes have. They have a better perspective to see an athlete's weaknesses and can offer feedback on how to overcome that weakness. To shut out a coach's input seems incredibly foolish. Coaches are the ones who get the team moving in the same direction and by not doing what the coaches say, an athlete is moving in a different direction from the rest of the team, which will result in failure. You have a better chance of winning by following bad coaching than by trying to do it your own way because even if the coach isn't right, at least the team will be on the same page. A united team has a much better chance for success than a divided team. In order to develop humility, athletes can try the following tips. 1. Give all -out effort This is the most practical way that you can put the needs of the team ahead of your own needs. Your team needs you to be the best that you can be. By putting aside the things that would prevent you from giving your full effort (fatigue, fear, not getting the ball), you demonstrate to your teammates that their needs come before your own. 2. Take Coaching Constructively Use every comment your coach makes as a potential for growth. Not all coaches are skilled at controlling their temper and they may scream at you, however don't listen to the tone of their voice, listen to what they are saying. If you have a coach that is constantly berating you, politely ask, “What can I do better?” If the coach can't answer that question, then don't take it to heart.

7 3. Don't be too big for anything When you are on the field, nothing is beneath you to do. For instance, it doesn't matter if you are a senior or not, holding a tackling dummy is not beneath you. Don't make the freshmen do all the grunt work, pitch in and help! You are never too talented or too old to do anything. By following these tips, you can become a more humble athlete, and also a more humble person. Being humble allows you to contribute to a cohesive team and a peaceful society.


Chapter 2: Loyalty
Whenever we have the chance, my stepson loves to go to the Dollar Store. Because everything is so cheap, he knows that he has a good chance of getting a toy. One day, my stepson came home with a very interesting toy spider. It was squishy and had a flashing light inside of it. What stood out the most to me was how sticky that spider was. It would stick to almost anything! The toy spider reminds me of the virtue of loyalty. Just as the spider sticks to objects, athletes need to stick with their team regardless of the circumstances. It doesn't matter whether their team wins or loses, or how much playing time they get. Loyal athletes stick with their team and are people that their team can count on. Loyalty is the ability to make commitments. By looking at the life of Christ, we can get a better picture of what loyalty is. “Meanwhile, as Simon Peter was standing by the fire, they asked him again, 'You're not one of his disciples are you?' He denied it saying, 'No I am not.' But one of the household slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, 'Didn't I see you out there in the olive grove with Jesus?' Again, he denied it. And immediately, a rooster crowed.” John 18:25-27 In this passage, we see one of Jesus' followers mess up very badly. Out of fear, Peter denied that he knew Jesus rather than standing up for Him. Basically, he turned his back on Jesus. In John 21:15-17, Jesus talks to Peter (also called Simon) for the first time since he was raised from the dead. “After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more that these?' 'Yes Lord,' Peter said, 'you know I love you.' 'Then feed my lambs,' Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' 'Yes Lord,' Peter said, 'you know that I love you.' 'Then take care of my sheep,' Jesus said. A third time he asked him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, 'Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.' Jesus said, 'Then feed my sheep.'”

9 Notice in this passage, that Jesus doesn't scold, berate, or abandon him because of his failure. Instead, Jesus showed his trust in Peter by giving him the important task of being a leader of Jesus' followers. Jesus was willing to stick with Peter. Loyalty plays a huge role in the world of athletics. A team who has disloyal players will usually fall apart when adversity hits. If players really aren't committed to the team, why would they want to endure hardships? They would not sacrifice for each other, and you could never really depend on them. As athletes, we need to be people who will stand by and support our teams rather than ditch them when something better comes along. As we learn to be loyal in sports, other areas of our lives will be enhanced. What person wouldn't want a friend that was loyal? What boss wouldn't want an employee that is loyal? Loyalty is one of the key ingredients in a marriage because there will be plenty of times when one will not feel “in love” with his or her spouse. However, the ability to stick together no matter what will help a marriage last. Here are some practical tips for practicing loyalty in your sport. 1. Give your best effort. In addition to humility, giving your best effort shows your team that they can depend on you. If you slack off, not only are you being selfish, you are also being disloyal to your team. 2. Show up at all practices and team events on time . This shows your team that they can depend on you. 3. Don't say anything negative about your team or teammates If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Complaining, blaming, and criticizing, are ineffective behaviors because they do not help the team reach its goals. By being positive, you are showing your support of your team. 4. Obey all training rules and outside rules (school, government) Your team cannot depend on you if you are suspended, in jail, or dead. Failure to obey these rules can really hurt the team.


Chapter 3: Courage
When I was growing up, I used to enjoy watching Rambo movies. My favorite line was in Rambo III where he says, “I'm your worst nightmare!” I liked these movies so much because I thought that Rambo was incredibly brave. Here's one guy who takes on an army by himself! He eats things that would make most people puke and he cauterizes his own wounds! He seems to be impervious to fear. However, movies like this sometimes give us a distorted view of what courage is. In Mark 13:33-36 , Jesus shows us a great picture of true courage. He took Peter, James, and John with him and became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” This passage took place the night before Jesus was to be crucified. An of you who have seen “The Passion of the Christ” can agree that crucifixion is not a pleasant experience. It is one of the most cruel and painful forms of death imaginable. Jesus isn't impervious to fear like Rambo. In verse 33, the Greek word for troubled and distressed also implies “struck with terror and amazement”. Jesus knew what was going to happen and he was so distressed that he was sweating blood. As He was praying, He asked the Father, “Please take this cup of suffering away from me.” Jesus shows true courage by praying, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” True courage is doing what needs to be done in spite of your fear or pain. In the 1996 Olympics, the U.S. Women's gymnastics team was locked in a tight competition for the gold medal and it all came down to Kerri Strug's performance on the vault. On her first vault, Kerri badly injured her ankle and she was barely able to walk on it, let alone vault on it. Kerri Strug fought through the pain and vaulted again, sticking the landing and winning the first gold medal ever won by the U.S. Women's gymnastics team. As Kerri Strug demonstrated, courage is important in sports because there is usually pain or fear involved. Training can be unpleasant or painful. There are many high-pressure situations in sports and athletes need courage to thrive in those situations. Not only is courage an important virtue in sports, but its an extremely valuable virtue in life. Life is full of many difficult situations such as, the death of a loved one, illness, raising children. It takes courage to deal with the pain or difficulty and move in a positive direction. People also need courage to stand up for what is right regardless of the consequences. Doing what is right is not always popular or easy, so it takes courage to consistently do the right thing.

11 Here are some practical tips on developing courage in athletics. 1.Don't back down from anyone. Even if your opponent is vastly superior to you, don't let that prevent you from being aggressive or giving your best effort. 2. Push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of. You would be surprised how much strain your body can handle. By doing that last sprint when you don't think you have the energy, playing that final quarter when you are out of steam, playing through a minor injury, you will begin to develop courage.


Chapter 4: Perseverance
In 1989 Energizer Batteries developed the Energizer Bunny as their mascot. Along with the creation of a mascot, was the creation of their new slogan, “They keep going, and going, and going, and going...” The bunny and the slogan help to reinforce the idea of perseverance. Just like the bunny, we need to keep going and going and going. Perseverance is the quality of never giving up despite the obstacles. Hebrews 12:1-3 gives a description of how Jesus demonstrated perseverance. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd up witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip of every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people, then you won't become weary and give up. Saving mankind was not an easy mission for Jesus and there were many obstacles, such as hostility from the people He was trying to save, cowardice on the part of his disciples, and excruciating pain on the cross. Despite these obstacles, Jesus did not give up and completed the mission His Father sent him for. In athletics, perseverance is key because reaching your goal is seldom an instant thing. Coach Bill McCartney took over a lackluster Colorado football program in 1982. It wasn't until 1990 that his team won a share of the national championship. Along the way, they had some dismal seasons, but Coach McCartney did not abandon his plan. Over time he was able to transform a perennial cellar-dweller into one of the premier programs in the country at the time. Perseverance is also important because setbacks are going to happen. The 1971 Marshall football team portrayed in “We are Marshall” had an enormous setback to overcome. During the previous season, 75 people were killed in a tragic plane crash. Among those killed were more than 35 players, almost the entire coaching staff, the athletic director, and many prominent members of the community. It would have been easy to cancel the program, but instead they chose to continue to play. With only three returning lettermen and a few redshirt freshmen, they filled out the rest of the roster with new recruits. Although they only won two games that year, they kept the program going. Since that time, Marshall has enjoyed its share of success. They were the winningest Division I program of the 1990's winning 114 games and only losing 25. They've won two Division IAA national championships, and have appeared in 7 bowl games. This was all made possible by the 1971 team refusing to give up despite an enormous setback. For the same reasons as in athletics, perseverance is also in important virtue in life. When Thomas Edison was working on inventing the light bulb. He failed nearly 10,000 different experiments before he finally made it work, making a huge

13 advancement in technology. He is quoted as saying, “The most certain way to succeed is to try just one more time.” He is also attributed with the quote, “Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Perseverance is a key to success in any endeavor you undertake. In order to develop perseverance, athletes can follow this tip: 1. Focus on the present. I tell my football players to win each play. This helps keep them focused on a short, obtainable goal. In the long run, if they win enough plays, they will win the game. People are less likely to give up when they believe they can achieve something. Even if they are way behind, I tell them to focus on the current play. They may not be able to win the game, but they can win that one play. Forget previous plays, win the current one.


Chapter 5: Self-Control
There were four seconds left in the game and the Kansas City Chiefs were trailing the Cleveland Browns 37- 39 in their 2002 season opener. They had the ball on their own 47 yard line and were setting up for a final “Hail Mary” play hoping to win the game. Quarterback Trent Green dropped back, and was taken down by Browns linebacker Dwayne Rudd. When Rudd looked up at the scoreboard and saw that there was no time left on the clock, he ripped his helmet off in celebration and threw it fifteen yards. However, there was a problem. As Trent Green was going down, he lateraled the ball to one of his linemen who rumbled 28 yards downfield before being knocked out of bounds. Because Dwayne Rudd took his helmet off in the middle of the play, he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Chiefs fifteen more yards and one more play which they used to kick an easy 30 yard field goal. Final score: Chiefs 40, Browns 39. Every football player has been told, “You play until the whistle blows.” In his outburst of joy, Dwayne Rudd forgot to do what he was supposed to do. His lack of self-control ended up costing his team the game. In order to get a picture of selfcontrol, we will once again look at the life of Jesus. Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, 'People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God'” Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, 'He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won't even hurt your foot on a stone.'” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, 'You must not test the LORD your God.'” Next, the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him the kingdoms of the world and all their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, 'You must worship the LORD your God and serve only him'”

15 Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus. Matthew 4:1-11 In this passage, Jesus had been fasting so he was extremely hungry. Satan tried to stop his mission by appealing to his physical needs (hunger) and his emotional needs (power, popularity). All of these temptations were appealing, but Jesus reined in his desires to fulfill his mission. Self control is the ability to rein in your body, mind, and emotions to do what needs to be done. As we have seen earlier, self control is important in athletics because when you lack it, it makes you extremely vulnerable. As a football coach, I can recall a game where a team's best defensive player was becoming extremely frustrated as we consistently moved the ball. In his frustration, he abandoned his technique and came charging across the line of scrimmage every play. Because he wasn't playing his technique, he left the defense vulnerable, which we exploited. As important as self control is in sports, it's even more important in life. On the athletic field, if you lace self control, you may lose a game. In real life, if you lack self control, you could end up sick, alone, in jail, or dead. Because there are so many destructive things that are easily accessible, a huge amount of self control is required to live a productive life. Tips to develop self-control are: 1. Do the little things right. Discipline yourself to do things exactly right. Run sprints through the line. Get to parallel when you are doing squats. Get in a proper defensive position in basketball. Focus on taking care of the details. Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll said, “Champions are champions not because they do anything extraordinary but because they do the ordinary things better than anybody else.” 2. Keep your emotions under control. Do not show negative emotion. You may feel negative emotion, but don't show it. Act the way you want to feel.


Tying it All Together: The 11 Commandments of Character
In each chapter, I have provided practical tips to develop each of the virtues. In order to make this easier to distribute and teach, I have combined these tips into what I call “The 11 Commandments of Character.” At the bottom of the page, the virtues are listed along with the corresponding commandments that teach that virtue. I have also included the Bible passage that shows each virtue. I have included two versions of this list. The first one includes the Bible passages and the second one omits these passages so that it can be distributed in public schools. I hope that this is easy to implement on your team and that it is helpful in building young people of character.


The 11 Commandments of Character
1. Give your absolute best effort at all times. 2. Don't be too good for anything. 3. Be Coachable. 4. Show up at all practices and events on time. 5. Obey all training rules and outside laws (school, community). 6. Don't say anything negative about your team or teammates. 7. Push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of doing. 8. Don't back down from anyone. 9. Focus on the present task. 10.Do the little things right. 11.Keep your emotions under control.

1,2,3 Humility John 13:1-5, 12-15

1,4,5,6 Loyalty John 18:25-27, 21:15-17

7,8 Courage Mark 13:33 -36

9 Perseverance Hebrews 12:1-3

10, 11 Self Control Matthew 4:1-11


The 11 Commandments of Character
1. Give your absolute best effort at all times. 2. Don't be too good for anything. 3. Be Coachable. 4. Show up at all practices and events on time. 5. Obey all training rules and outside laws (school, community). 6. Don't say anything negative about your team or teammates. 7. Push yourself beyond what you think you are capable of doing. 8. Don't back down from anyone. 9. Focus on the present task. 10.Do the little things right. 11. Keep your emotions under control. 1,2,3 Humility 1,4,5,6 Loyalty

7,8 Courage

9 Perseverance

10, 11 Self Control


All Bible references are taken from the New Living Translation unless otherwise noted Introduction Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Martin Ostwald. 1999 Chapter 1: Humility Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Life. Chapter 3: Courage The Amplified Bible Canfield, Hansen, Donnelly, Donnelly, Tunney. Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan's Soul. 2000 Chapter 4: Perseverance www.wikipedia.org “Marshall Thundering Herd” marshall.scout.com/2/660290 Chapter 5: Self-Control sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=220908005 Dungy, Tony. Quiet Strength. 2006

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