A boy who just graduated elementary school wanted to join his middle school’s football team.
Having just the summer to get ready, he knew he had to start immediately, so he got a ball and started practicing in his backyard.
Going at it alone, he was clever enough to find out that if he threw the ball against his roof, the ball ricocheting off at an angle back to him, he created an artificial catch partner.
The only problem was missed catches landed in mom’s roses, which of course meant that training was moved to the park.
This turned out to be a benefit for him; without the crutch of a roof, he was able after about a month or so to train himself to run fast enough to catch his own passes.
This of course didn’t occur without hardship, he had disciplined himself for hundreds if not thousands of throws over countless hours in this little city park.
In order to practice tackling, he decided to face both his fears and bodily injury head on and tried to tackle trees.
Certainly no one would have mistaken him for “undriven”.
All this gave him great confidence, and along with doing a few pushups, by the time tryouts came the boy was in great football condition.
He dazzled in tryouts; catching passes from all angles without dropping a single one and dropping other boys on their backs on the line.
Coach was impressed, but he wasn’t the only one.
A real scrawny boy, very thin, but very inquisitive, came up to him after practice; wanting to know how he became such an athlete.
The boy told him to meet in the park tomorrow morning, telling him to get a good night sleep,
“...you’re gonna need it…”
Bright and early the next day, both boys met at the park.
The athlete told how he was able to train hour after hour, day after day, through blood, sweat, and tears to catch his own passes, but he didn’t so much care about that, he wanted to see a little suffering himself…
“I’m gonna show you how I learned to tackle.”
“If you didn’t have anyone to tackle, how’d you learn? a dummy?”
“Sort of…I learned to “tackle trees.”
“ Jesus, man...huh? actual live trees?”
“Of course, actual...live...trees.
A short silence…
“If you wanna be the best, you gotta do it.”
The two came to the forest. The athlete saw a great old pine, with the rough bark, and plowed straight into it.
The scrawny kid sighed out.
‘Now it’s your turn.”
The scrawny kid took his time and scouted out the whole area, then, he picked his target.
The perfect target.
Giving a loud roar as he plowed head on into a fully grown tree 40 yards away, it gave the athlete time for his heart to sink and and think what he would have to tell the kids parents in the hospital with half his bones broken.
But before any words could be yelled, this scrawny kid, barely 90lbs soaking wet, smashed into this tree at a full sprint, completely uprooting the trunk and roots from the soil.
The athlete gasped, not as much from the sight but his anger that he was tricked.
“Hey! That’s cheating! You’re supposed to run into a living tree not a dead one.
“How are you going to learn how to tackle properly?”
“Kids aren’t rooted to the ground, might as well tackle something that can be tackled.”