Lead From The Bench
What is your favorite summer childhood memory? Maybe it is a beach memory, playing outside all day, going to the pool, or time with family and friends. Personally, one of my favorite summer memories is having the time to read whatever books I “wanted” versus the ones I “had” to read in school. I am witnessing my daughter have the same excitement of choosing her own books. She said, “I don’t have time to read what I want during school, so this is a nice change.”
Reading is a getaway from the busy of my mind. I see new perspectives from other writers, and as a writer, I am in awe of how the words magically tell a story to inspire or take us to another place as we feel what the characters are feeling. I love to use book references to aid in making points with those in my life. Abby Wambach’s book, Wolfpack is one I immediately wanted to share and read with my children, especially my son. Even though he is 11, he still likes when I read to him, so I read the book aloud. When we got to the chapter “Lead from the Bench” I could see his interest rise. He made the All-Star baseball team as a supporting player, not a starter. I was witnessing how the transition from starting to being benched was impacting him. When I read the following excerpt below, I knew this was the perfect way to start a conversation with him about how being on the bench is just as important as being on the field.
Abby said:
“Here’s what’s important: You are allowed to be disappointed when it feels like life’s benched you. What you aren’t allowed to do is miss your opportunity to lead from the bench. If you’re not a leader on the bench, don’t call yourself a leader on the field.”
In this chapter, Abby discusses how she found herself on the bench not playing in her final World Cup at the end of her U.S. Women’s National professional soccer career. Abby said, “You’ve scored more international goals in your sport than any human being on the planet. You’ve co-captained and led Team USA to victory after victory for the past decade. And you and your coach sit down and decide together that you won’t be a starter for the remainder of your final World Cup. Instead, you’ll come off the bench.”
After I finished reading this chapter aloud, I asked him how he was feeling about his team and his role. He said, “I want us to win even if I don’t play. I can eat my sunflower seeds and start team cheers.” I laughed as of course he would find something food related to inspire him. As he went back to his team, I saw the shift in his perspective and once again reminded of the power of sharing our stories and experiences with others. And guess what? After being supportive of his team and insisting upon being the first player to arrive at practice and staying focused on being his best, he ended up being able to start in a game. I told him how proud I was of his attitude and reminded him that a positive and team player attitude will get you far in life.
What books have inspired you to make a positive change? I would love to hear from you and add to my summer reading list.