Determination. Endurance. Conviction. Strength of will. The ability to look at the mountain and treat it like the molehill. Belief in yourself.
For the Teenager, these things have led him to go out for a sport he's NEVER tried before. And these things carried him onto the Varsity track team; into track meets where there are over 70 schools competing in each event; into races where the odds seem to be stacked against a kid who's never competed at this level before. And these things have brought him across the finish line with an amazingly fast time, to place no lower than third in his strongest event. In every meet he's competed in.
For Bug, these things have led him to face challenges daily that most kids his age don't ever have to face. And these things have carried him into a sport that constantly batters against his struggle to feel pride in himself and what he accomplishes, and forces comparisons against athletes that most likely aren't facing what he faces internally. But these things have brought him to a level in this sport that sees him keep a measure of pride in himself when he walks a batter rather than strike him out like he did the last one. And they keep showing him how to look for ways to improve rather than ways to tear himself down.
For Coach, these things have led him to holding onto a vehicle that would almost be better served by walking away from. And these things have pushed him into continuing to lift the hood to see why the engine once again isn't starting, or pulling off the inner door to find some way to fix the handle so he can actually get into the driver's side seat without opening the rear passenger door to open the front passenger door to climb over the front passenger seat just to be able to drive the blasted thing. And so these qualities have made it possible for him to hop on one of the boys' bikes so that he can ride the 10 miles to the auto parts store and the 10 miles back, with a bum knee, just to get the part he needs.
For me, these qualities have given me the push I need to keep going every day, knowing that it's not always enough. They have nudged me when I need the reminder, and they have allowed me to rejoice when I can finally see an outcome to something I haven't given up on--like finding out that the Teenager is planning on going to prom this year, instead of waiting until his senior year like he's kept threatening.
Determination. Endurance. Belief. Its just three things; three little things. They are so hard to practice, but the rewards are so unbelievably not little.