As my wife Wanda and I sat this weekend on a beautiful autumn morning watching young student athletes honing their skills at my son Kyle’s Team Eighteen Training Camp, I witnessed a stalled clear. A Long stick was being doubled teamed and no teammate moved toward him to help. I yelled, "present yourself," to his teammates just standing around. My wife and the parents around us chuckled, then said “that’s good advice always.” The loud request was a direct quote from my 1st lacrosse coach Chuck Waesche. This is essential to complete a successful clear when the ball carrier is experiencing difficulty. Identifying a clear, visible target is the first step in all efficient successful journeys. After processing as much information and identifying the path of least resistance, that first pass or move should always be to the person who has the best possibility of continuing the journey (clear) without being delayed or worst derailed.
In lacrosse the pressure is often lessened as you advance down the field to set up your offense. In life the journey often increases in intensity as you get closer to your GOAL, demanding maximum focus and tenacity. If you do not recognize the need to present yourself to the right people to acquire direction and sound information, it is more difficult to become the best possible you. My life long journey in the lacrosse world began when I presented myself to coach Waesche who was also my first high school football coach, who started me at quarterback over a bigger, stronger armed player because he felt I was more coachable and had a great work ethic.
After a successful season (I started all 9 games, we went 6and 3), he asked me “what are you doing in the spring.” I answered “I’m a third baseman, I’m going out for baseball.” He then gave me an old wooden stick and 3 balls, and then challenged me to try to learn to scoop the ball off grass and to try to keep the ball in the net by showing me a horizonal old school cradle. He continued to follow up with me all winter to see how I was progressing with designs on converting that third baseman to a budding lacrosse player. I never picked up my baseball glove again after that winter of 1964. Coach Waesche with his knowledge and experience felt I could be a good lacrosse player because of my athleticism and my work ethic. By Presenting Myself to learn something new and different (out of my comfort zone), it changed my life, and that of my entire family FOREVER. Redefining who you are by presenting yourself to knowledgeable people like parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors, increases the chances of being successful in whatever you do.
So life and it’s complexities like clearing a ball after a shot will likely succeed if you continue to present the best informed you possible, and always seek to take that first best step. Anxiety and self doubt will always be present, but the more you Present Yourself the more you will learn, know and grow, as you become your best self.