What does commitment look like?

What does commitment look like? 

 I've been asking this question of myself quite a bit lately.  Commitment is kind of one of things that you recognize when you see, but to define it is a bit more elusive a proposition. So, of course defining what commitment looks like is what I am about to attempt.

On this fall's team I had two great examples of commitment among the players. As I have thought about these players the last couple of days I was able to come up with some commonalities I believe distinguish them from their teammates in terms of commitment.

1) They were not only present but also punctual.  These two players simply did not miss team activities and both were always on time and usually quite early.  Being present and punctual seem like such simple common sense things to many of us, but we all also recognize being present and or on time is a very real struggle for others.

2) Attentiveness.  We might call this an ability to focus or concentrate.  Attentiveness, to me, is the ability to listen and carry out instructions.  I loathe having to repeat myself seemingly ad naseum to some players and value greatly those players who are attentive and responsive first time.

3) The questions committed players ask tend to be far different from the questions of others. Attentiveness will lead to this.  They seek out nuances in details and ask for clarifications of the process.  Their questions are both about improving themselves and improving their team / teammates.

4) Their effort is never questioned. They are the pacesetters for the team. This is true in terms of work ethic, attitude, spirit and enthusiasm. They bring the best effort they have day in and day out.

5) And I have found their commitment is not contained between the lines of the pitch but permeates everything they do.  Their lifestyle and habits outside the lines mirror what they do inside the lines. School work, nutrition, rest -  the same level of effort they give inside the lines ... it's a product of what they do outside the lines.


Teammates are forever.

in my late teens and early twenties I played on an adult church softball team. It was the best group of guys I have ever been a part of. There were basically 10 of us and our coach. We would occasionally add a player if someone was injured or when we played in tournaments. For the most part it was just us 11 men bonded together by our love for Christ and softball.

We didn’t always get along. There were differences. When we stepped onto the field they were forgotten, at least temporarily. We played as if we shared one heart beat amongst us. We won, a lot. Lots of league and tournament championships. The team disbanded one year without much ado as. Enough core players moved on to other things and those who remained knew the magic would never be recaptured.

Tim Dunifon who played left center field next to my left field died five years ago.  His death hit me particularly hard. Good guy. Good friend. Good teammate.  Tim was the first of our core group to die.  I miss him.

This past Saturday, Candy Stevely passed away. Candy was the wife of Gary Stevely, our right fielder and lead off man.  I took Gary’s spot in left field and there lingered some animosity for a while. Never on the field though. Eventually everything smoothed over.  Candy was our church secretary, organist, sang in various musical groups was a member of the bell choir. In short, Candy was a hub of the church.  I was fortunate enough to work with Candy 3 separate times as a member of our church council. Twice as president of our congregation. She was kind, I mean really kind, truly kind.  Candy was a wonderful ambassador for our church, for Christ himself.

Our softball team was a family affair. While it was 11 men who manned the team our families went everywhere with us. Wives, girlfriends, parents, grandparents, kids. Candy was often there supporting Gary and our team.

As I have mourned Candy’s passing I have been reminded of our softball team. Fond memories. Strong lasting bonds. I am looking forward to seeing many of the guys at Candy’s viewing and funeral. It’s so sad that we gather under these circumstances but also a comfort that our little band of softball players remain a team after all these years.  Rest In Peace Candy.  Peace be with you Gary.


Everyone wants to win a championship.

It's not the will to win that is important for everyone wants to win. 

It is the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.

To win a championship you must first win the grind.

Win every individual workout.

Win every practice.

Win every training session.

Win the logbook sessions.

Triumph over discomfort.

Find victory in each obstacle and every adversity.

Communicate with winning frankness and honesty.

Win first, then play the game!