Be A Hall of Fame Worthy Competitor

While I was watching the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony last year (yes, I watched all three hours- I mean Brett Favre, including some other great players were receiving awards)… I was struck by two things…


1. Most of the speakers/inductees could have used a Public Speaking Class (it was a long three hours of listening to speeches, but as always, I learned something).

2. All of these amazing people/athletes did not get to this level of success on their own!!

I started to think about other award ceremonies I have seen… I don’t think I have ever witnessed someone going up to the podium saying, “yep- I have all the talent, I did it all on my own!” In fact, if you were watching the inductees into the NFL Hall of Fame- each and every one of them gave credit to their team and their coaches. Wait a minute… They didn’t get here on their own? I thought about this more… When watching the Oscars,  an actor or actress typically thanks who surrounds them, such as other great actors or their director. And let’s not forget the importance of one’s parents (hint, hint… Be thankful for your parents)!! And it struck me that- no one becomes great on his/her own!! Wait- an “ah-ha moment!” We all need people in our lives that raise our standards and challenge us to BE OUR BEST. Sometimes we need that push, a pep talk… or a even shoulder to cry on.

I believe Competitive Speech and Debate will provide you with those people- the best people to surround yourself or your students with. Yes, it’s a competition, and you are competing against each other, but what better way to motivate you- by being surrounded by gems! Even Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympic swimmer, says his fellow swim-mates and team push him to be stronger and better! Why? Because when you surround yourself by phenomenal people, all wanting their best, it pushes you to be better! And it’s only natural for them to want the best for you, and like-wise you for them. It is truly an awesome experience to be surrounded by like-minded, challenging, yet encouraging people! Why wouldn’t you want to experience that?!

Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Iron is being sharpened by iron in Speech and Debate. So is this a two way street?! Yes! I know you thought this was going to be a traditional post stating surround yourself by great people… But in order for the maximum amount of greatness within a community, or league- you need to bring your all too! In fact, if you look at the sparkly suits of gymnasts or skaters, you’ll notice that they get their pizzazz from the many, many rhinestones all catching the light and sharing it around. It isn’t just one rhinestone you notice; it is the effect of all of them shining together.

So what is your part in that Hall of Fame experience? One day you may have your day to claim the trophy. And on a different day, you may be part of the community behind the recipient of that trophy who is from your club or your friends or your prep group or your family. And if you have participated at all in Speech and Debate, you know that any given day- any given person could win.

Here are some tips to help you play your part in the Hall of Fame…

1. Take some time to really think about how you can be great. Decide what greatness looks like and sounds like to you. Acknowledge the role models, teammates, coaches, teachers, parents and friends who have and are contributing to that vision of greatness and to your preparation in that direction. You may even want to do more than acknowledge them… You may want to listen and allow them to push you.

2. Make goals to push yourself. Reach for what is going to be a challenge. Grow your gifts and clean up your weaknesses. Work. Work hard.

3. Make sure you give back. Don’t be so focused on your own self and your own successes that you fail to be one who has the advice or encouraging word for a fellow competitor who is trying hard to attain his or her own shot at greatness. Remember that in the big picture, we are ALL on the same team striving to give the real glory to God in a culture that would often rather deny Him. Giving back doesn’t just mean after you graduate or when your season is complete. The time to give back is now! Go be an encouragement, watch a round, find that person in the hall that could use prayer! The time to be a Hall of Fame Worthy Competitor is now.

Remember that although each and every one of our names may not end up in the Hall of Fame. Truly great competitors might just acknowledge that they are taking part of you with them. Be a Hall of Fame Worthy Competitor!