A Lesson From My Dad That Changed The Way I Compete

When I was 11 years old I played little league baseball. Much like the majority of our clients here at Cressey Sports Performance, I was 98% certain that I’d one day be collecting MLB paychecks and enjoying winters off from work.

There is one game that I will never forget. This is surprising, because I was there for exactly one third of an inning.

If you were in attendance, you’d remember watching me lead off the top of the first inning with a strikeout, and then promptly slamming my helmet on the ground. The brim of said helmet snapped off, flying directly past the dugout door.

My dad saw the whole thing.

It took Pete Sr. all of 30-seconds to walk down from the bleachers, across the field, and into the dugout to remove me from the premises. The next hour or so looked like this:

  1. Silent ride to the bank.

  2. I remove $40 from my First Communion savings.

  3. Silent ride to local sporting goods store.

  4. I buy a matching batting helmet with my own money.

  5. Silent ride back to the field.

  6. Painfully awkward apology to my coach and teammates.

To this day, I have never discussed this incident with my dad. I’m not intentionally avoiding it. In fact, I owe him a thank you. This experience fundamentally changed the course of my personal development.

Somehow this story popped into my head recently as I was listening to a relatively new gym owner bitching and moaning about the competition. The more I stewed over it, the angrier I became.

Here’s the point:

Your fitness business competition isn’t kicking your ass on recruiting new clients because they “lie, cheat, and steal.” They’re doing it because you won't take ownership of your shortcomings on the lead generation front. Be better.

The “garbage” gym down the road isn’t loading up on quality internship applicants at your expense because they “mislead candidates about the quality of the learning experience.” They’re winning because they’re more effective at positioning their program in an appealing way than you are. Be better.

I didn’t break a helmet because an umpire made a bad call or a coach failed to put me in a position to succeed. I did so because I was a selfish child who’d overestimated his talent and failed to put in the work. I needed to be better.

Thank you, Dad, for not letting me off the hook. I intend to pay it forward with your grandchildren.

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