Last year we put together a handbook for players and parents in our program. At the end was a glossary. Among the entries was this one.
Paying your dues-In our financial life we can put things on the credit card. This allows us to have what we want without feeling the pain of paying for it. In our home life many a kid can have whatever he wants without feeling the pain of paying for it. At the youth level many a player has the natural size and athleticism to succeed without paying for that success in practice.
Well in high school you have to start paying for it because things are no longer handed to you, and the competition is better. Therefore character becomes increasingly important. You want good grades so you can get into a college; you have to pay your dues by studying and completing assignments. You want to be a good player on a good team; you have to pay your dues in the weight room and in practice.
As a football coach, and teacher, I often have to be the bearer of bad news. I have to tell kids and their parents that if they want their student or athlete to be successful there is a very high cost for that success. It means a ton of time and some excruciatingly painful effort. I am very direct when I have these conversations. I want to make sure people realize the ramifications of the decisions they are making. Unfortunately, I have been called mean for being kind enough to inform people that life can be mean. Fortunately, most people come to thank me for putting things in their proper perspective and helping them to understand that your actions had better reflect your goals if you want to achieve something.
Below are some quotes about paying your dues.
I just want you to know what is possible.
“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired…You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.” General George S. Patton
“Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness” –Dostoyevsky
“It is at the borders of pain and suffering that men are separated from boys.” –Emil Zatopek
“If you want to climb the MOUNTAIN you have to pay your DEWS (Discipline, Effort, Will, Sacrifice)” -Greg “Geebs” Geebo, the legendary coach who, after each of our NFL HSPD-Westfield practices, brings out a cooler of icy Mountain Dews, which are given to the player who worked the hardest at each position during practice.
“What counts in battle is what you do once the pain sets in.”- John Short
“You must realize that in every small town in America there are great unknown champions; those who have just never found the courage to pay their dues.”- bmoore