The Kick-off and Orientation at Wendy’s International HQ in Dublin last week marked the beginning of another Handshake America Columbus season sizzling with potential! The student-athletes were introduced to the reality of what it means to be a part of Handshake: community, involvement, high expectations, and a vast and growing network of coaches and alumni prepared and willing to come alongside and walk through the ups and downs of life with them. As for the new recruits, they met, they engaged each other, and whether they realized it or not, they formed a bond with each other through each and every handshake they exchanged.
The handshake is more important than we might imagine. It signifies the beginning of a mutual exchange between two or more people. Since the students and coaches in this Program are also athletes, sports is a prime example to see the significance. Every football game begins with handshakes between the team captains at the 50 yard line, then they proceed to beat each other to a pulp. The same goes for boxing and MMA - a touch of the gloves before they try to knock each other out. And after all the drama and struggle between the opposing sides, most matches and games of any sport even end with handshakes (‘GG’).
The handshake is a sign of respect and acknowledgment. Most of the student-athletes were meeting each other or their coaches for the first time. That handshake they exchanged was the acknowledgement that they understood why they are here as a part of this program - that they will be in this learning and growing journey together.
This Program is about coaching, introspection, practice, and action. It’s about being aware of yourself and the people around you. It’s about defining success as doing your best and being willing to do your better when you have the opportunity. It’s about being self-satisfied with the effort you give in all that you do and being willing to own the outcome gracefully and humbly, no matter the result. It’s about squeezing the most out of the gifts you’ve been given, just like any coach and player of any sport is always doing. The only difference is this applies to all of life - on and off the field.
We are off to a great start! For the year to come and on into the future, we wish the greatest measure of success to the Class of 2019!
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Matt Draudt - Handshake America Photographer & Blogger