WINNING WITH A SHUTOUT ATTITUDE
My name is Patrick DeBolt, former Division 1 lacrosse coach, Director of Recruiting for Sentry lacrosse and President of Shutout Lacrosse. Below is a speech that I wrote for the 2009 US Lacrosse National Convention:
I’m not here today to tell you to come to my lacrosse camps, lessons, or tournaments. I would like to talk to you about a very sensitive subject that everyone can relate to, in one way or another. By most definitions, the word Shutout broadly refers to any game in which one side does not score. I strongly believe there are a number of valuable definitions to the word which prompts me to dig much deeper into its meaning. Now, I would like you to create your own meaning of the word Shutout.
Coming from a small town in Waterloo NY, I’m not going to lie, there is not much to do. I was raised to learn that the simplest things in life such as family, friendship, loyalty, and honesty mattered most. I learned that all the money in the world can’t make a person happy unless that person can look themselves in the mirror with a sense of satisfaction at the end of each day. I learned that life is what you make of it and with a good attitude and a lot of hard work you will get to places that you could only have dreamed of before. I learned about the little things in life, and to never take anything for granted by living everyday as if it were my last. Most importantly, I found a way to Shutout everything negative to find my own edge in life.
At an early age, I was brainwashed to love the game of Lacrosse. I can recall numerous times that I was grounded and locked in my room for hours for being the most innocent child around, imagine that. I laugh whenever I think about this, because every time I was sent to my room, there stood a wooden lacrosse stick. I knew I had not placed the stick in my room, especially since my mom never allowed sticks in the house, but there it was just staring back at me. I was never allowed to have a phone, TV, or computer in my room. All I had was an old wooden stick, a rubber ball, and a small radio. Throughout my childhood, I spent countless, yet well deserved, hours locked in my room. I was always jamming out to music and putting holes in the walls while trying to come up with the newest, coolest stick tricks to show my friends. After my fun was over, I was always greeted by my dad, who blessed me with his paternal advice about life followed by a heavy duty “to do” list. This list always seemed to consist of the most miserable chores that you could think of. Just to give you an idea, my dad cut down seven big trees around my house. Instead of cutting the trees all the way down, like most people do, he left the tree stump about a foot and a half visible above the ground. As he placed the axe into my hand he said, “The sooner you cut these stumps out and cover them with dirt, the sooner you will be able to see your friends.” Clearly underestimating the task before me, I thought to myself, “This is great… I‘ll be hanging out with my friends in no time.” I swung that axe as hard as I could for about two minutes and quickly found out that I was getting nowhere. It was like taking a cup of water out of the ocean with every swing. I swear to you, with every pass of the axe I grew more and more dangerous. The thoughts that were going through my mind would leave any mother in tears. The first day of chopping quickly resulted in me quitting and telling my dad to go to the moon. I let my emotions get the best of me. However, my dad quickly corrected me by grounding me for another month and locking me in my room for the remainder of the night. I proceeded to head bang to music and put holes in my walls with lacrosse balls. Over the next four days of constant wood chopping, I bled from my hands, I cried, and continuously said and thought inappropriate things. I was physically and emotionally drained. After the second day, I walked to my Grandfather’s house while crying. I told my grandfather about the horrible father I had. My grandfather laughed then wiped my tears and wrapped me in his warm arms. He sat me down and asked me how many stumps I already completed. I replied, “One and a half.” He replied, “How did you feel when you finished the first stump?” I quickly fired back with a big attitude, “I still have a lot of wood to chop, like five and a half more to go.” My grandfather asked me to trust him. He told me first to Shutout everything that was provoking my anger, take a big breath, and use all of my anger in a positive way. He went on to tell me that he didn’t care what I did yesterday and only wanted to know what I could do today.
After my pep talk, all I wanted to do was prove to myself and to my family that I was not a quitter. I was able to swallow my pride and continued to work with a new sense of desire. I managed to finish all of the stumps within four days. With every swing I became physically weaker, but emotionally stronger. I found ways to Shutout everything, including my thirst and my physical and emotional fatigue. I turned every negative into a positive, as explosive energy flowed throughout my body and fueled the axe with each and every swing. Throughout those four days all I focused on were the little things. Yes, I learned how to cut a stump out of the ground, but more importantly, I learned how to position my feet, hands, and arms to better swing the axe. I created strategies to chip the wood away. I learned that with a lot of hard work, along with trial and error, a person can work towards becoming more successful one swing at a time. I also learned that there isn’t a better feeling than a sense of accomplishment, regardless of the task. Just like the stick that was mysteriously placed in the corner of my room, I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason.
As you all know, nobody is perfect. Everyone faces problems with our families, friends, and even us as individuals. At times, people believe they are truly hitting rock bottom with little hope and no way out. There are a number of different reasons that people stop pursuing their goals. Throughout my life I have run into almost every problem imaginable. Despite certain setbacks, lacrosse has been a staple in my life that acts as a supernatural agent. Lacrosse helps me to Shutout obstacles in order to find a way to make everything work, regardless of how bad a situation may seem. It doesn’t matter if you’re chopping a stump out of the ground or running for president. If you can’t Shutout adversity and focus on the little things, you will never reach your full potential.
As we grow older, we start to understand why we became the person we are today. I am thankful for my family and friends because they let me know every day that simply trying is not good enough. I’m constantly reminded that it does not matter what you did yesterday. What does matter is learning from yesterday in order to be the best possible person that you can be today. Respecting the past, and giving all that you have in the present will lead to a happy future. I live each and every day of my life with a Shutout attitude. There are always going to be negative people telling you that you are incapable of overcoming obstacles. I thrive on proving those people wrong, and making big time plays both on and off the field. As a coach, I have my kids form their own meaning of the word Shutout in order to protect them from the negative world. This leads to them setting and achieving goals that send them to the best colleges in the country.
One time a very successful banker asked me, “What do you make coaching and running these lessons, camps, and tournaments?” I looked at the man with a blank stare and said, “I make kids work harder than they have ever worked before. I make them believe in themselves and make them understand that trying is not good enough. I make sure they understand the meaning of family, friendship, loyalty, and honesty. I make them understand with a good attitude and a lot of hard work you will get you to places you never thought possible. I teach these children that they must live everyday as if it were their last, and that the little things in life matter most. At the end of the day, I make a difference and that is all that matters to me. Sir, what do you make?”
Like my grandfather once told me, “I don’t care what you did in the past; all I care about is what you’re going to do today.” Please take this time to think about everything I have said and re-evaluate what Shutout means to you. I want you to think about all of the negative setbacks and heartaches you have faced during your life. Now think about all the positive achievements and goals you accomplished by Shutting out everything and trusting yourself. At the end of the day the word Shutout is what you make it. Just like the edge of an axe, you need to look yourself in the mirror and find out what gives you an edge. You must define what drives you to have a relentless attitude, eliminate all distractions, and emphasize the little things in an effort to make big time plays both on and off the field.
On my back, from the top of my neck straight down my spine, is the Shutout “S.” It’s a symbol that holds a special meaning, helping me to be relentless each and everyday. It reminds me of why people are successful and why people crumble. It is a symbol of life and ones true self. In the game of the lacrosse the word Shutout symbolizes relentless coaches, big times plays that make the fans go wild, and the sweet sound of success as you look around and know that you did all the little things. It is my goal to help kids grow and have every opportunity they can to hold a lacrosse stick in their hands. If a child can first understand the small things in life, lacrosse will be a walk in the park. I hope everyone finds a way to incorporate Shutout into their life. Please wear the Shutout, Sentry, Bridge and NYC Doc's name proudly and share my story with others wherever you go.
Finally I’d like to read one of my favorite poems which beams the true meaning of Shutout, Sentry, and Flower Mound Lacrosse.
When you get all you want and you struggle for self,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.
For it isn't your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He's the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he's with you right to the end,
and you've passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you've cheated the man in the glass.
Cell: 315 719 8072