As a follower of Christ, it has always been a passion of mine to serve. But so often we, as athletes, feel the need to put our own ambitions, goals and success before others. This is understandable because we feel the need to focus intently on the task at hand and develop our skills to maximize our success.
My whole journey as an athlete and especially as a baseball player has ultimately brought me to the realization that individual success is good, but it’s not what truly fulfills the athlete. There will always be another goal, another dream and another mountain to conquer. Even though that’s a great thing about sport, the true fulfillment doesn’t come when reaching the top of that mountain. The gratification comes from the process of learning how to deal with problems and inevitably creating solutions on your way to the top.
However, there is another extension of that gratification that goes even higher: Passing on what you have learned through that process and bettering others around you in such a way that they too succeed. That’s what I intend to do with Xtraordinary Athletes. I want this “brand” to represent everything that God has allowed me to go through in my life. And to be completely honest, I don’t know how to convey everything He’s brought me through, but I want to try. Through every outlet available to me via social media, camps, motivational speaking or whatever it may be, I want young athletes to understand that everyone can call themselves an athlete.
But to understand the separation from good to great, and great to elite, is the idea of “Xtraordinary.” When I mention Xtraordinary, I’m talking about the specific traits God gives athletes. Xtraordinary Athletes recognize their influence and find ways to utilize that influence in a day-to-day manner. God has given us all gifts, and everyone is different. I believe that one of the problems we have today is that a lot of our youth are trying to be the same. We are so concerned about having followers that we have undermined the importance of leadership. We cannot let our youth just go along with the crowd; I believe they must separate themselves.
If we teach young athletes how to use their influence in a way that can impact others around them in a positive light, we can fundamentally change the future. My goal is to continually remind athletes that it’s OK to be different; everyone provides greatness in different ways. Whether this be by workshops, team-building activities or game-based learning, I want the youth to realize their God-given talents can reach way beyond their individual sports. These same talents can help to combat issues that so many kids are going through today. I’m speaking of issues such as bullying, self esteem, dealing with failure, anxiety, depression, organization, mental health, social awareness, responsibility, leadership, navigating social media and violence (both verbal and physical). We have to do a better job of equipping kids at a young age with the right information, and do so in an engaging way. The reason why we equip the youth is simply because they are the future and eventually they will play the biggest part in how our world will evolve.
I’m encouraged to play a part in helping these young athletes impact the future in an incredible way. Stay tuned for the evolution of Xtraordinary Athletes.
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Check out our podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-xtraordinary-athletes-podcast/id1499278403
— Xavier Scruggs, professional baseball player
Xavier Scruggs is a regular contributor to The Increase and provides monthly articles and opinions. Check out Xavier’s Increase profile here: https://theincrease.com/author/xavierscruggs/
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