Character matters

by Jack Warren, Top Coach editor and host

Jack W 3This week a video of Dallas Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott went viral. The video shows Prescott sitting on the bench drinking some water or Gatorade out of a paper cup. Upon finishing his drink, he tosses the empty cup behind the bench toward the garbage can, only to see the cup hit the side of the can and fall to the ground. This, apparently, was one of his rare incompletions of the day. Undaunted, he got up from his seat, picked up the rebound, and this time made sure that the cup found its rightful place.

Many people have pointed out that this is a reflection of Prescott’s character – and rightfully so. Even with cameras rolling and tens of thousands watching from the stands, no one really gives too much thought to the pedestrian tasks of drinking and disposal. What does amaze me is when someone, knowing that there’s a chance they’ll be on camera, makes a conscious decision to throw a tantrum or participate in unsportsmanlike conduct or, quite frankly, just make unnecessary messes. I’m always amazed at just how messy Major League dugouts are when garbage cans are everywhere.

But back to Prescott. I’ve heard it said that a measure of one’s character is what you do when no one is watching. Another favorite saying regarding character is what do you do for others who can do nothing for you? Many coaches give lip service to character, especially when a 95 mph fastball is in the shopping cart. But the fact is, it matters. And frankly, the product speaks for itself. Not often do you see college baseball players in the news (for the wrong reasons). Compare that to the average football and basketball team. The body of evidence would indicate that baseball coaches are paying attention.

In one of my very first interviews at Top Coach, Wynn Fletcher, then head coach at Central Alabama Community College, talked about going to a high school and talking to the school janitor to see how a potential recruit treated the other people in the school. Again – people who could do nothing for him.

Character matters — perhaps not as much in the professional ranks where winning is preeminent – but certainly in amateur athletics and especially in the long walk of life.

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