The Wildcat Way

The Wildcat Way
What it means to be a Waconia girls basketball player

     Coaches and athletes are role models. I will not debate whether they should or should not be. It is an undeniable fact that people at high levels of athletics are admired by others, especially young people. This is a responsibility our athletes will not run from; rather they will embrace it. Every athlete in our program will be acutely aware that their actions will have a tremendous impact on the lives of people around them. As role models, there are certain values and character traits athletes and coaches should demonstrate and possess.
     Among these are a positive attitude, sportsmanship, competitiveness, team concept, a good work ethic, and an understanding of what success is. These are the things more than offenses and defenses that will be stressed in our program. These are the things that are essential to achievement in athletics and in life.

Positive Attitude- There are two things an athlete can always control. One of them is their attitude. A positive attitude can help you overcome seemingly impossible obstacles. Positive people see challenges, not problems. It is not always easy to be positive. There will be people who criticize you and there will be times when things don't turn out the way you'd hoped or planned. Positive people will bounce back from these difficult situations more quickly and once success is achieved, they will remain successful longer. Perhaps the best thing about a positive attitude is that it's contagious. If just one player is positive, the feeling can permeate through an entire team. A team with a positive attitude is taking the first step toward being a good team.

Work Ethic- Little in athletics or in life comes easy. It's the people that are willing to put in the extra time and effort that most often come out on top. We will never ask ourselves at the end of a game "what if we'd just practiced a little harder?". We will never lose due to a lack of effort or preparation. High intensity and hard work will be a trademark of our team, and knowing the value of hard work will help you well beyond your years in athletics.

Competitiveness- This cannot be overempasized. A competitive spirit is the thing that most separates the successful from the rest. Almost everything in life is a competition and everything in athletics is. The thing we must all be aware of if that our toughest competition will rarely come from an opponent. Most often as athletes we are competing against ourselves. There is a voice inside each of us that tell us to take a break, or to take it easy. The voice may tell us we're not good enough or that we'll never make it. Sometimes the voice even tells us that we should give up or quit. Successful athletes are those that can ignore this voice and consistently overcome that part of themselves that wants the easy way out. 
The other characteristic of a great competitor is that they hate losing as much or more than they love winning. Everyone likes to win. The trademark of a true competitor is an unwillingness to tolerate losing.

Sportsmanship- In victory or defeat, athletes should maintain dignity and demonstrate respect for their opponents, their program, their fans, their sport, their school, the officials, and themselves. We will play within the rules at all times, period. Players will be allowed and encouraged to display emotion, but it must be directed in the right way. Showmanship does not make you a better player and it shows no respect. Again, athletes must keep in mind that they are role models and they must act accordingly.

Team Concept- A team is a group of people that share a common goal and work together to achieve it. Everyone on a team must genuinely care for the well being and success of the group. Individual accomplishments and achievements must ALWAYS be secondary to the success of the team. Good teams will almost always beat groups of talented individuals. We will first be good teammates, and by doing so, we will develop into a good team.

Understanding Success- I mean it when I say that for us, success will not be measured in wins and losses, though we will pursue winning in a vigorous manner. We are successful when we have put forth our absolute best effort. Anything less than our best effort in practice, in a game, or in life is unacceptable. Only when you give something less than your best effort are you a failure. Effort is that other thing that every athlete can control. If we as a team can look back after every practice and game and say to ourselves "we did the best we could" then everything else, including the score is irrelevant. That being said, I am thoroughly convinced that if we honestly give our best effort every day, when we look up at the scoreboard, most of the time we will like what we see!

     Being an athlete is not easy, but that's what makes it so rewarding. This is also why people look up to athletes as role models. It takes a special kind of person to succeed in athletics and in life. It is through athletics that we hope to instill these values and help to mold and create special people. Wildcats don't aspire to be average in any endeavor. We aspire to be exceptional and athletics can help us learn how to be just that!