“The town of Westfield Mass., known for blight, four dive bars within extremely short walking distance of one another, just as many liquor stores, just as many churches. Whenever a business starts up anywhere in downtown Wastefield, it goes under within the year.” –Urban Dictionary
This is the town I teach and coach in and a common perception of the community. I detest this. There are some amazing people in this community. Particularly young people who, whether they remain or move on, have done great things for themselves and others.
As one of my friends recently said “it’s hard if not impossible to be objective about yourself.” I think the same holds true for the people within a given community; they have a tough time objectively seeing the place where they live.
It seems like some of the people in town subscribe to one of two views. “Everyone is awful” or “Those people over there are awful.” I detest this too.
The first group has quit on everyone. The second group has quit on everyone else.
Being a teacher and coach in the community has been a frustrating gift to me.
Frustrating because it is difficult to move people to believe they could or should do more for themselves or others. It’s hard to convince them that all it takes is some belief and action in the realm of character and mental toughness; again for themselves and others.
A gift because I have had to find a way to articulate this, and translate it into action. It’s made me a better person. It’s made me a better teacher and coach.
I’ve had no choice, because if I want to succeed I have to help them adopt the means to get better. When they follow the way I suggest they do well in everything they do. (Many come to the principles on their own, and that’s ok too.)
But it’s hard to get people to be objective. It’s hard to motivate people to change for their own benefit and for the benefit of others. It’s hard to change the self-perception of a whole community. Some think it’s not needed. Others believe it’s impossible.
But I believe it is needed. I believe it is possible.
You don’t go from last in the state to two district championships in football if you don’t believe it and act accordingly. You don’t win the only titles in almost 40 years of lacrosse unless you believe it and act accordingly.
Success has been achieved. The principles work. Now the battle is to help them find consistency, and that is the toughest battle there is.
A year or so ago I came up with my acronym for Westfield. I would hope people might adopt it as a path to success. A reminder of how to succeed every time they spoke or saw the word.
Today I came up with an acronym for Wastefield. Maybe it will help them see that they have a choice.
I hope they see the difference. Many have already. We just need more in order to be consistent.
Winning Every Situation Takes Forethought Initiative Effort Liveliness Determination
Waiting Around Stagnant Trapped Encircled Feeling Incomplete Evaporated Lethargic Defeated
If you are from Westfield, consider sharing it. If you are from somewhere else consider it as a template for forming your own acronyms. Either way, don’t give up. The dream can be realized and every person that realizes it will do better for themselves and others. I’ve seen it happen!
“Don’t hide your heart but reveal it so that I might know mine too and learn what I am capable of. “-Rumi