Attitude of Gratitude

By Clinton Koedam for The Predicament

The older I get the more I find myself complaining about the way kids are today.  I am 100% sure that adults did the same thing when I was in school.  The current generation always thinks the world is going to heck in a handbasket because of the way kids are.  Their priorities are all messed up.  Their behavior is a mess.  They don’t know how to communicate unless it is with a piece of technology.  Sometimes I catch myself being the same crabby person that I used to complain about as a kid.

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As a wrestling coach in the state of Iowa, we have very little to complain about.  Iowa may not be the #1 state in the nation, but we for sure have a great deal of support for the sport.  Every sport knows that our state tournament is the best of them all.  Everyone knows that our wrestlers are some of the toughest athletes across the board.  We have youth wrestling clubs coming out of our ears.  The list of off-season camps, clinics, and tournaments is extensive.  We are even working towards expanding opportunities for females.  Why not start the upcoming season choosing an attitude of gratitude for being blessed enough to live in a state where wrestling is respected?

Choosing the right attitude is a simple thing for all of us to do.  Just decide to do it.  Decide to focus on the positive rather than the negative.  A piece of advice I always share with young, frustrated coaches is to not let something else steal your joy.  There is always something to be thankful for.  There is always someone looking for guidance.  There will always be someone out there looking to benefit from interacting with you.  All of these things are difficult to be thankful for if you allow yourself to live in the negative.

We become ineffective at growing others when our minds are stuck in the muck.  We are unable to see the silver lining if we allow drama to rule our lives.  Nobody wants to be around a negative Norten whose glass is always half empty.  Our sport is a tough one requiring positivity to get our athletes to view the benefits of hard work in the same light as we do.  Let’s face it, hard work isn’t always at the top of the priority list.

Beyond the sport of wrestling, an attitude of gratitude applies to everything.  Every day that the sun comes up and your feet are on the right side of the dirt, it is a good day!  Choose to look at the bright side of all that you do.  We have been studying world cultures in my 7th grade social studies room.  One of the areas I had the kids study was human rights around the world.  I was hoping to get them to see that the life they have in the United States. is way better than being a kid stuck in a diamond mine or a kid who has been turned into a soldier.  We watched a few short clips and saw things that would make a billy goat puke.

If you ever slow down enough to simply look around you, there are tons of awesome things to smile about.  Your program may have low numbers.  Think positive about gaining more.  Every new kid is a gift that you get to work with.  Every conversation you have while recruiting from study hall is a chance to share a kind word with a young adult.  All the words shared with other coaches asking them to encourage their athletes to participate is a chance to gain a trusted colleague.  Every parent you get the chance to talk to about the sport is a chance to build an army of supporters in your community.  Every time your teams wins or loses you get the chance to go back to work the next day.

Obviously we can’t sit around in a fluffy cloud and believe that smiling all day is going to change the world or our program.  I simply suggest that you choose the right attitude.  The attitude in your soul is going to be the one that magnifies the outside.  We are on the outside how we think on the inside.  It is the time of year to get to work, get your hands dirty, invest the time in whatever your program requires, and be thankful that you get the opportunity to do so.