Applying champion life lessons learned from the game of sports.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Little Under-Sized...

As I watched much of the NCAA Basketball "March Madness" Tournament and as I've been listening to analysts talk about college football players that were prospects and players drafted in the NFL Draft, I've noticed a phrase that I'd like to take issue with; this phrase is "He's A Little Under-Sized".  Allow me to expound a little. 

This phrase has the potential to do great damage to a young man/woman when it's spoken yet interestingly enough, normally it is not the intention of the person speaking it to cause damage.  I have witnessed high school, college and pro coaches make the statement that a person is a little under-sized and I've witnessed athletes hear that spoken about them in person or in an interview on television.  No matter how the athlete hears it said about them, I see a common reaction; some conceal it better than others, but they still display the common effect of that being spoken about them.  Their facial expressions show disappointment, sadness and rejection.  Their mindset becomes that of not being good enough, not having what it takes and they become convinced they'll never get the chance to prove what they're capable of because someone else has chosen to "label" them just because of their size. 

I submit that size has little to do with how well an athlete can perform and compete or how much he/she can achieve in their sport.  To help prove that point, here are some examples of some athletes that have been labeled "undersized" and a short mention of their accomplishments.  In basketball, from the teams in the NCAA tournament this year:  Madison Davis, UNC Asheveille- 5'10 Guard, Shawn Vanzant, Butler 5'11 Guard, Kemba Walker, UCONN, 6'0 Guard, all said to be undersized when recruited and it was also written that "size was their weakness".  Look at 5'10 Guard Andrew Albicy from France who is projected to be drafted in the NBA draft this year.  What do you think is written for his "weakness"...size.  Continuing in basketball, how about former NBA stars Spud Webb (5'7), Earl Boykins (5'5), Nate Robinson (5'9), Calvin Murphy (5'9) and Mugsy Bogues (5'3) shortest player ever in the NBA who also managed to block an amazing 39 shots in his pro career. 

Let's take a look at some of the NFL players that were labeled "undersized".  De Sean Jackson, WR 5'10 who had 125 catches, 2079 yards and 11 TD's when entering his 3rd season in the NFL.  Bob Sanders, 5'8 Safety, 2 time Pro-Bowl selection, taken in the 2004 draft when it was said his weakness was he was, "undersized".  Steve Smith, 5'9 WR, taken in the 3rd Round 2001 draft, 10 seasons, 574 catches, 8330 yards and 50 TD's.  Darren Sproles, 5'6 RB, he was said to be to small when coming out of college, 130th overall pick in fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft.  Danny Woodhead, 5'7 RB.  No D1 offers for college despite a strong high school career, holds the single season and all-time D2 rushing record.  He didn't receive an invite to the combine, so relied on his "pro-day", he went undrafted in 2008, signed a free-agency contract in the NFL and still plays there today.  Lastly, how about Defensive Lineman, Dan Klecko, 5'11 3 time Super Bowl Champion who, although had a great college career, was labeled "undersized". 

Lastly, consider a non-traditional athlete taken from the Old Testament named David.  In 1 Samuel 17 we read of the battle between David and Goliath.  What is interesting is that there was no one in King Saul's army that was willing to or had enough courage to face Goliath on the battle field.  David was only there because he had brought some things from his father to give to his older brothers that were in the army.  Yet, when her heard Goliath step forward and shout out his usual defiance, David took exception to it and without hesitation, told King Saul that he wanted to fight him.  Saul tried to plead with him not to saying, "You're Just A Boy" (today that sounds like, "he's a little undersized")...see the parallel?  David would have nothing to do with being limited by his size.  He knew who he was, who's he was and what he was made of and capable of achieving in that battle and wasn't about to back down.  The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 17:48 that, "As the Philistine (Goliath) moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him."  Scholars say Goliath stood better than 9'0 Feet Tall and David was maybe 5'5 at best...the 5'5 young boy ran to the battle field and decisively defeated Goliath! 

Do you think David was listening to anyone say of him that he was "undersized"?  Do you think David was willing to be limited by someone else’s opinion of him?  I don't think so.  The same thing goes for you!  No matter what others say about you, your size, your appearance etc, it does not define you!!!  Just as David knew he had everything he needed to compete and win, you have that same thing in you.  You have everything you need to compete at any level and win!  God made you the way you are because it's just the perfect way for you to fulfill the plans he has for you.  Thus, don't back down, don't go into competition with fear or hesitation just because someone may stand taller than you.  Be bold!  Run to the battle field, let what is in you come alive and compete with a furry that puts the bigger person on the retreat!  Only you can limit you...

It is my prayer that your ears will be deaf to anyone’s opinions about you and further that people will learn not to label and limit people because of their size or appearance etc.