TOADTalk Pete Fagan: Competing with a Focus on Character

Athletic Director Pete Fagan talked about the importance of the Second Scoreboard, which measures effort, commitment, sportsmanship, and character.
This week the community enjoyed another Monday morning All-School Assembly with an inspirational talk by the Teacher On Active Duty (TOAD). It was Athletic Director Pete Fagan’s turn. Mr. Fagan, whose TOADTalk is featured below, teaches AP statistics, math III honors, and welding and is the head coach for the girls’ varsity tennis team.
 
Hello and welcome back. I trust everyone had a nice restful holiday as we move into this second trimester. Before we left for vacation, we were entertained with a fun basketball game to start off our winter season. Even though the boys didn’t win the game, it didn’t mean we weren’t winners that night. We were winners of the more important scoreboard….the second scoreboard.

For many of us, we’ve used the phase “the second scoreboard” for many years on this campus. For the new people, this might be a new term to you. So what does it mean?

On the surface, we kind of all know what it means…. it implies that we worked hard to win, but didn’t. And regardless of the outcome of the games, we feel good about our performance.

But there is more to the second scoreboard than just “trying your best.”

Before we talk about the second scoreboard , I’d like to mention what the first scoreboard is. The first scoreboard is what it implies: the final score of each contest—simple outcome of either winning or losing—finite, ending, and after each contest a reset. The first scoreboard is just a quantifiable measure of how your team did.

The problem with the first scoreboard is that much of the outcome is out of our control. We play different opponents and they have a lot to say about the finality of the first scoreboard. If your opponent is significantly better than you, you can’t control the first scoreboard. Conversely if they are also really bad, as much as we’d like to, we can’t control that either.  Simply put, the first scoreboard is not always in our control. And if something is out of our control, then we are at the whims and randomness of our success or failure. A missed shot, unlucky bounce, a bad call could all be factors that decide whether the first scoreboard is in our favor or not. Hence, with the first scoreboard, there is too much left to chance.

That’s where the second scoreboard comes into play…. The second scoreboard is a different and more important measure of our success. It’s the measure of success of our programs and games that we actually can control. There is no outside influence to our outcome and we can control all the variables involved.

Here’s how we win the second scoreboard.
 
First off, the second scoreboard is about preparation. How you practice and prepare is a measure of the second scoreboard. Scoring points on the second scoreboard means intentness in your practice, giving it your all, recognizing and correcting your mistakes and listening to your teammates and coaches. There will be many people more talented than you, but there is no excuse for someone to work harder than you.
 
The second scoreboard means you are practicing and playing with integrity. When you win, you do it with humility and when you lose, you lose with dignity. You play the game the way it is supposed to be played: with honor for yourself, your school, and your opponents. You practice and play with poise. You hold fast to your principles and beliefs and act in accordance with them, regardless of how bad or good the situation may be. You don’t fear losing and you choose your thoughts and actions based on your values over personal gain. You are a good sport….as John Wooden was often quoted “The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose.”
 
Winning the second scoreboard means you have confidence. You believe in yourself. It is the knowledge that your preparation is fully complete and that you are ready for competition. Your confidence is what happens when you’ve done the hard work that entitles you to succeed. Each time you play and face adversity, you gain strength, courage and confidence. It is confidence in your body, mind and spirit that helps you find that inner strength to grow.
 
The second scoreboard means you are resilient and determined. You bounce back and focus after failures and letdowns. You bring your best effort to the next play, practice, and contest. You are determined to do your absolute best, even on the lowest, most frustrating of days. You will have bad days and things will feel bleak. You push through hardship and struggles, always continuing to strive for success in the most positive and productive manner.
 
The second scoreboard means …. cooperation, enthusiasm, initiative, loyalty, friendship, respect, commitment and team spirit. The hard work isn’t enough if you don’t have the enthusiasm and the initiative to pull yourself up after failure happens. Your loyalty to your sport and teammates is what helps everyone achieve higher goals. You are eager to sacrifice personal glory or gain for the greater good. You are committed to putting the welfare and success of your organization ahead of your personal success.
 
You act professional. You demonstrate unwavering character of the highest moral standard. You exhibit the behavior and attitude of an athlete consistently prepared to play like a champion. You have self-control by avoiding emotionalism and avoiding peaks and valleys of effort. The second scoreboard is a measure of your character.  And don’t be confused about your character versus your character reputation. Your character reputation is what you are perceived to be, and your character is what you really are. In the face of adversity, it’s your character that should remain the constant.
 
And lastly, the second scoreboard means you are respectful. You act in a way that demonstrates appreciation of the game. You take time to appreciate your surroundings and the chance you have been given to participate. You are respectful to yourself, your teammates, coaches, opponents, officials and fans. You are a sportsman or sportswomen of the highest standard with no compromise.
 
So, as we embark on this upcoming winter season, let’s focus on winning the second scoreboard. Focus on what you can control, on what you can bring to the field or court and how you can be the best player and teammate for your teams. Bring the values of the second scoreboard to your job each and every day. And focus with the peace of mind you will obtain through the self-satisfaction in knowing you made the best effort you are capable of.

Go Toads!
Back

More About Thacher

Interested in learning more about Thacher? Get to know us better here or request additional materials here.