We have a great saying at NCSA that we don’t change, we evolve. I love how it applies to us as a company, because we haven’t changed – we’ve had the same mission and the same goal since we were founded in 2000. We’ve learned a lot these past fourteen years, we’ve gained resources and gotten better, and have evolved into the network we are today – and deeming this an evolution, means we will never plateau, and will continue to snowball and get better. The word holds a powerful connotation.
This got me thinking about applying evolving instead of changing in other areas of life, and it brought me to the spirit of the student-athlete. From the first time we feel a connection or passion from picking up a bat, kicking a ball, or shooting a basket, there is something in an athlete that knows this is going to be something they love; this is something fun. It’s not always the first sport we try, may not even be the second, but no matter what, you get there, you get to that feeling, and it truly enhances your life and upbringing.
For this reason, the idea of evolving instead of changing rings so true. A student-athlete moving on to the next level doesn’t change overnight. They practice their craft, figure out what it’s going to take, and design a discipline that works for them. It’s not easy – it’s actually really hard – but that thing inside us doesn’t change, it evolves into a way of life, for some a career, but always the same mindset, just getting better each day.
Our VP of Scouting, Izell Reese, was the first person to introduce the concept of evolving, instead of changing to me and our team at NCSA. Izell is the definition of an athleader. Working hard and evolving as a football student-athlete gave Izell the heart and drive to carry his sport to the next level. However, it wasn’t an easy road for Izell – not knowing a ton about the recruiting process, but set on getting a college degree, Izell started school at the University of Alabama-Birmingham as a walk-on. Never losing sight of his dream, never letting that inner athlete go, Izell gave all he had as a walk-on and was eventually put on scholarship and later, had an incredible career in the NFL before coming to NCSA to work with student-athletes in the same place he was at one time.
At NCSA we have another great saying, “The only disability in life is a bad attitude”, and this reminds me of student-athletes working hard to evolve and be the best they can be, student-athletes finding themselves in the same shoes Izell did. Proof to the notion that the way you train, the way you carry yourself, the way you handle what life throws your way, is how (or if) you’ll get through it.
I’ll sign-off this week with the new Duracell ad featuring Seattle Seahawk’s fullback Derrick Coleman. I’m sure many have seen it – I know it’s been popping up everywhere – but talk about athleadership and having an incredibly inspiring and fulfilling outlook on the road stretched in front of you. Check out the ad, and check out his story. He would get knocked down, and get back up – his circumstance didn’t change overnight, he evolved into a success story and role model.