Sports quotations kids can learn from


Former New York Yankees player Yogi Berra was so famous for his quotes, they were called Yogi-isms. (Ray Howard/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Some kids collect sports cards, stamps or coins. Because I like to write, I collect quotes. I save examples of those times when someone said, or wrote, something just right.

I have collected hundreds of quotes over the years, by famous and not-so-famous people. Friends and family sometimes give me quote books and calendars with a quote for every day.

I was looking over my collection, and some favorite quotations made me think about kids and sports. Here are a few, along with who said them.

“There is the greatest practical benefit in making a few failures early in life.”

Thomas Henry Huxley

Lots of kids are afraid of messing up in school or in sports. They hate to strike out or miss a shot. But Huxley, a famous scientist in the 19th century, understood that it’s okay to make mistakes, especially when you are young. That’s how you learn.

Also, what seems like a failure, such as getting cut from a team, may be just the thing you need to encourage you to work harder and improve. Remember, basketball legend Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school varsity team the first time he tried out.

“To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves.”

Will Durant

Too many kids speak ill of — or criticize — their teammates. Maybe you have some of those kids on your team. Or maybe you are one of those kids.

As Durant, a famous historian, recognized, criticizing a teammate is really a sneaky way of saying, “I’m a better player than that kid.”

Teams are supposed to win, or lose, together. It’s tough for a team to play its best if some of the players are always complaining or talking behind their teammates’ backs. So try not to criticize your teammates. That way, you will be sure you’re a good teammate.

“Nobody wins games with their face.”

Lawrence “Yogi” Berra

So many kids worry about how they look when they play sports. They have to wear the coolest shoes, have a certain uniform number or get the most expensive equipment. But none of that stuff is important when the game starts. Practice and hard work make you a better player, not a cool-looking hat.

Berra, a Hall of Fame catcher for the New York Yankees, understood this. He was short and pudgy and kind of funny-looking. But Berra hit 358 home runs and helped the Yankees win 10 World Series championships.

Berra may not have looked like a winner; he just played like one.

Fred Bowen writes a sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is the author of 17 sports books for kids. His latest are “Quarterback Season” and “Real Hoops.”

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