"There are no shortcuts to success." - Atty. Mickey Ingles
Coach Brax asked me to come today and share some values that I learned in sports and that I’ve used in the different aspects of my life, be it in my career as a lawyer, a law student, and a bar topnotcher. Three values immediately came to mind: the values of preparation, discipline, and hard work.
When I was still playing in Ateneo Men’s Football Team under Coach Ompong, our team had this motto – a mantra actually – and that was “if you don’t do it in training, if you don’t bring it in practice, you definitely won’t be able to do it in the game.” We put a premium in practice, imposing fines on those who were late or missed training sessions. We put a premium because we knew the value of coming into the game, or coming into the season, with the best preparation one could possibly have.
We had this mindset because we knew and understood that there were only two things that you could control in sports and in life: the effort you put out and how well you prepared. If you think about it, this is true. You can’t control the weather (especially if you’re a football player), the air conditioning in a stadium (if you’re Lebron), your opponents, and my goodness, the referees. And you definitely can’t control the results of the game. That’s why you’re left with focusing on yourself – with the effort you put out, and the preparation you put in.
That’s where discipline and hard work come in.
Ask any successful athlete – ask Lebron James or any of the Ateneo Women’s Volleyball Team players – what their secrets to success were, and they’d tell you that it isn’t a secret. It all boils down to hard work and discipline, how many hours you spend honing your craft and the number of sacrifices you have to make.
Champions aren’t made overnight; championships are not won on a whim.
Champions are made in the gym, in the baseball field, in the basketball court, in the football field, and in the training ground.
Champions are made when it’s just you – alone, with no one watching or cheering you on –pushing and challenging yourself day in and day out.
Champions are made when things get tough, when your body starts to ache, when your mind wants to quit, but you keep going, you keep pushing, you keep fighting, because you know it’s worth it.
Because you know there are no shortcuts to success.
And, guys, there are no shortcuts. You can’t expect instant results. You can’t go to the gym once a week and expect six-pack abs. You can’t miss trainings and expect to be on the first team, or the starting eleven, or the starting five. You can’t give 50, 60, 70% in training, and expect to give 100% during the game. That just doesn’t happen.
Things are not that easy.
And that’s the problem, that’s what’s lost in today’s society – we get everything so easy. You need research done for your research paper, there’s Google and Wikipedia. You’re hungry, there’s delivery. You need to stalk – I mean, know more – about that pretty girl from Assumption, there’s Facebook. Everything’s so easy.
But with this ease, this convenience, comes the temptation – this huge temptation –to cut corners and take shortcuts.
And this is why discipline is so important. Discipline pushes you to say “no” to what’s easy, and say “yes” to staying the right course, even if it’s hard.
It’s pretty obvious that discipline and hard work are vital outside sports. Look at the news today. If you read the newspapers or listen to the radio, you will see the headlines filled with people who take shortcuts and cut corners. You can see them in our politicians who steal our money as a shortcut to wealth. You can see them in shady businessmen who cheat the government, their customers, and their own employees as a shortcut to fulfill their ambition. You can see it in so-called “brotherhoods” that resort to beating neophytes to death as a shortcut to friendship and true brotherhood.
These, we do not need in our country. We do not need liars, cheaters, thieves, people who take shortcuts to the detriment of our nation, especially as we try, strive, and struggle to make a name for ourselves as a country in the international arena.
We do not want to be known as a nation whose people take shortcuts; we want to be known as a nation whose people stay the right course, even when it’s hard…especially when it’s hard.
That’s the discipline we need. That’s the hard work we need to put in.
That’s the same discipline and hard work which we learn to value in sports. What values, what lessons these are! Who would’ve thought something so important to nation-building can be learned through something as fun as playing sports?
With that, I want you guys to go out there and have fun. Play with your heart; play to win. Never compromise the purity of sports. Make the most of your youth to play and enjoy because you’ll surely miss it when you’re older.
But in your quiet moments, take the time to reflect on the values and the lessons you learn from playing sports, and see how you can apply them to make yourself better, make the people around you better, and make your country better as well.
Thank you. AMDG!
(Reflection shared by 2012 Bar topnotcher Atty. Mickey Ingles for the Ateneo High School iSHAPE program held in the morning of July 4, 2014)