Miko Malabute | Thursday, October 10, 2013
Call me a try-hard, call me a bit corny for this, but I truly hold this to be true and have always thought about it this way ever since I could remember: academics and sports really are so closely related.
With the fairly recently sparked controversy over a few key figures of our football team taking an early exit before singing the alma mater after the loss to Oklahoma a couple weeks back, followed by the insistence of a “policy change,” there were many students who were hurt by this apparent lack of student body unity. Many made the argument that all of the progress the university has made to this very point may in large part be accredited to its successful and withstanding football program: that is, sports and academics went hand-in-hand in bringing Notre Dame thus far, allowing us to be held in such high esteem as the prestigious university that we are.
In light of this perspective, I feel that it is not only beneficial, but almost necessary to look at succeeding in the classroom similarly to succeeding out on the field and out on the court. As freshmen, we all had to make “the cut” to be part of the organization – we had to qualify ourselves in tryouts (the application process). Ever since we’ve come onto campus, we have had to prove ourselves worthy of being here day after day, exam after exam. Kobe Bryant once said in an interview that “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” Every exam, is an opportunity to rise and prove ourselves. And if we didn’t do well on the last one, then you can bet that the next one will be the shot at redemption.
I underwent a large part of the summer reading Tim Grover’s “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable.” In this book, the legendary trainer implores his readers to adopt a relentless attitude in any aspect of their lives that they wish to truly excel at, to be a “cleaner” about it. No excuses, put your head down and do the work every single day. To me, this directly screams out “Notre Dame academics” – though we are all undeniably rooting for each other to succeed, we are all in the fight for our lives to excel in the classroom. If we don’t succeed, then there are more than 17,000 people who are dying to take your spot.
Last year, I looked to our football team as they underwent their almost magical regular season of 12-0 as inspiration in each of my classes. Week after week, many analysts and talking heads predicted (perhaps even hoped) that we would suffer our first loss of the season. Yet week after week, we prevailed. Thus, I thought to myself, if they could succeed week after week, I can too.
No excuses, do the work, and prevail despite what may be said against you. That’s what sports has taught me, and that’s the same attitude I intend to continue to bring to the classroom, as well as any other aspect of my life. Any other attitude will just likely get me benched.
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