Coaches Want Climbers


I have always had an intense interest in mountains and mountain climbing. I’m really not sure why but they have always fascinated me. Maybe it was traveling through the Rocky Mountains a few times with my family as a very young boy and being overwhelmed by the beauty and power. Something just always stuck with me from that experience. I guess that is why I included ‘Summit’ in the title of this blog.
The young players I have coached will attest that Coach Huff is always reliable for a whacky or strange mountain climber story or analogy.  (see last paragraph in “For All The Coaches” )
Here’s one that I hope you enjoy as much as I do and share with your players as well.

Quitters, Campers, and Climbers

Dr. Paul Stoltz described three types of people. All of them begin in the valley, staring at the mountain of life: quitters, campers, and climbers. Even though all human beings are born with the urge to climb, and there are billions of people in the world, the mountaintop remains practically empty. What happens to all of life’s mountain climbers? Most end up compromising what they truly want for what is immediately available because they are unwilling to endure the painful climb, so they become “given-ups” instead of grownups. Life’s quitters see the mountain’s jagged cliffs, threatening storms, and endless paths as dangerous, deciding to pass on the climb entirely, avoiding the process rather than risking failure. By denying their God-given urge to climb, they make compromises in their lives. Quitters are typically people who entertain themselves to death, escaping into noncontributing time-consuming activities. They keep themselves busy doing mindless activities in order to avoid the mountain; they are doing everything not to climb. They suffer the worst pain of all— the pain of regret— for a life spent in service to self, not to others. The worst quitters, those having no more conscience, solicit others to join their lamentable condition.

Campers, on the other hand, start climbing the mountain. They are excited about the opportunities on the mountainside, beginning life’s climb enthusiastically. However, at some point, through a combination of successes already achieved and the pain associated with further climbing, they cease the process, compromising their ideals and selling out their courage for the comfort of camp. They may achieve a nice mountain view, but their best days are behind them, surrendering their future for doing “pretty good.” Although campers know the price of the climb, they are unwilling to pay it any longer. They may convince themselves that they are only resting for a season, but few will ever break camp. Some of the most talented people are content in camp, having achieved a good lifestyle, fooling themselves that this is more important than their purpose. Don’t misread this; everyone needs a vacation once in a while to refresh, but not a vacation for the rest of one’s life. Take a break when needed, but never compromise your calling for your comforts. Vacations end, but a person’s purpose only ends when his life ends.

Climbers are the last group. These are people who refuse to compromise their calling and convictions, deciding to press on with their journey, no matter how painful the climb is, as far as they can go. They know they were called to climb the mountain and are willing to do the work in order to accomplish it. Climbers are a rare breed— they never sacrifice their convictions for conveniences since they understand that life isn’t about obtaining the best spot in camp or gathering the most items in the tent. Life isn’t about possessions, but about purpose; it’s about the climb. Climbers have learned that one of the keys to a happy life is fulfilling one’s purpose, becoming who he is intended to be, not necessarily by reaching the top, but through the constant effort to improve. A true climber battles his mountain, and in the process, he conquers himself. His climb leaves a path for others to follow in pursuit of their purpose, teaching other climbers the lessons he has learned through life’s mountain climb. Each person must make his own decision while staring at life’s mountain. Will he quit, camp, or climb?

Let’s hope your team is filled with Climbers.
Have a great week!

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