The pain of discipline….vs. the pain of regret

Next to our kitchen table, there’s a white board where every week I put up a new quote that gives my family, ahem, food for thought. I try to find motivational quotes that aren’t too sappy and that inspire conversation.

I recently put up one that made me think about my years as a young athlete, but it also applies to a lesson that Rob and I are trying to instill in our kids with regard to school and sports (and cleaning their rooms) :

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Sarah Bombell, Australian swimmer

This one really hit home with me. I have so many regrets about my years as a young athlete because I had the ability but not the innate drive that was necessary to play any of the sports I “loved”  at the collegiate level. I probably could have played tennis if I’d chosen to attend a Div. III school instead of a PAC 10 school (and home to the NCAA women’s tennis champions), but that’s beside the point.

I  loved tennis but not the way my brother did. Starting at about age 14, he played about 5 hours a day. Nearly year round. And he went on to play at Northwestern University. We had the same opportunities but he had the spark and I just didn’t. I was sort of…lazy.

Now I’m trying to learn how to play golf, which is the first sport I’m attempting to learn as an adult. And it is HARD. I need a huge dose of discipline. Every time I go out, whether I’m playing a round, hitting buckets, or I’m on the putting green, I try to work on improving just one thing, the way my instructor advises.

The regret I’m feeling now is that I didn’t go with my dad to the golf course on the weekends when I was younger!  What a wasted opportunity. When I started taking lessons, I was sure that eventually I’d be a single digit handicapped player. Two years in, I just hope that I’ll be able to shoot below 95 at some point in the next year!

Do you have any regrets about youth and sports? Any words of wisdom? What do you tell your kids about discipline?

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