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The Power of Dedication

Madison “Maddie” Schonberg, a Junior outside hitter on the Centenary College Volleyball team, wrote this article. Maddie is from Harbor City, CA, majoring in Psychology and English.

Athletes are frequently under intense pressure during games, including the need to perform, score, and support their team. A reliable anchor, such as a personal principle or meaningful individual, can help athletes remain grounded and focused on their game. This anchor should provide a sense of dedication toward the sport, allowing the athlete to maintain motivation and determination. Playing for someone or something outside of one’s self can help the athlete hold themselves to a higher standard.

Reggie White was an NFL player for the Green Bay Packers, where he was known as the “Minister of Defense” because he could use his faith in God to play the game he loved as well as a witness to others. Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors plays for God. He said, “There’s more to me than just this jersey I wear, and that’s Christ living inside of me” in an article by Marco Guzman, a writer for Hard Work Sports. Both of these athletes played for someone more significant than themselves, and they could dedicate their performance to God and the idea that success could not have been achieved without him.

Dedication is essential in athletics. Each day an athlete has to push themselves to perform and achieve their goals. Dedicating a game and the opportunity to play every day can aid athletes in working harder. It is one thing to play for oneself, but when one pledges to play for others, there is a certain expectation that needs to be fulfilled. Playing for God can allow athletes to remain thankful for the opportunity and privilege to play.  It can also allow athletes to grow in their faith as God becomes a part of their routine. Jeremy Lin, a former NBA player, trusted in God and his plans for him as he struggled to find footing in his NBA career. Ultimately everything worked out, but he was able to trust in God and believe that His plan for him would be the right thing.

An athlete’s family is also important in their performance. A good support system can aid the athlete in feeling motivated and reinforcing their goals. Dedicating athletic success and games to one’s family members can hold them accountable as they are playing for someone else, someone they love and respect. In a way, having someone or something to play other than themself works to refocus an athlete when they become frustrated during a game or intense practice. Playing for a deceased family member can also be an important way for athletes to push through hardships. John Macdonald, an MLB player on the Toronto Blue Jays, hit a home run in honor of his father on Father’s Day. It was “his father’s request from his deathbed,” as told by Ian Mendes in his blog on Today’s Parents, where he highlighted athletes who have honored late parents.  In this sense, Macdonald could play for someone outside of himself and honor the memory of his father. This wish pushed him to work harder and perform to the best of his ability because someone else was counting on him.

No matter what or whom an athlete plays for, they will still be there no matter the game's outcome. Having someone to dedicate the game to works like a promise, a promise to try one’s best, be accountable, and be a good teammate. Dedication is something that has to come from within.  Having someone or something to focus one’s gameplay on allows the athlete to perform to the best of their ability because it is something greater than themselves.

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