Perseverance and Patience

I have always been fascinated by the people responsible for managing and coaching athletes. Managers and coaches are in charge of making sure their players are prepared physically and mentally to compete at the highest levels. They make the game plans that players follow. When all the systems work together it is awesome.

Let's take a look at the Boston Red Sox manager, Terry Francona.

Terry, also known as Tito, grew up in baseball. His dad played in the Major Leagues and so did he. Terry's playing days led him to coaching and eventually to managing. In 1997 he was named the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. After three years with the Phillies, he spent the next couple of years as a coach for a few different organizations. In 2004, the Boston Red Sox hired him to be their manager. Terry Francona was put into a different situation, with different players and personalities, and the match was off-the-charts successful.

The Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 - Francona's first with the Red Sox. In the American League Championship Series, they came back from three games to none down to the Yankees to win the Series four games to three. The Red Sox then swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. In 2007, Boston won the whole thing again. This time, they came back from a 3-1 deficit in the American League Championship Series to the Indians and then again swept the World Series, beating Colorado four games to none.

There are many lessons to be learned from Terry Francona's career in baseball. The most important was his belief in himself. I have met Tito a number of times and have gotten to know him pretty well. He is a really cool guy who is very honest with himself and his players. Honesty is so important in sports because it allows you to build trust between yourself, the players and the organization. Terry's background in baseball taught him that even if you work as hard as possible, there is no guarantee the results are going to be what you hoped, but he also learned along the way that perseverance, patience and great effort can lead to incredible success.

Team sports are complicated. In order for a team to succeed, everyone has to be focused on the team's goals. Whether the goal is to win or improve, if everyone is willing to dedicate themselves to accomplishing those goals, then the chances of success are much greater in the end. A manager is only as good as the players he has to work with and if everyone is working together, dreams can come true, as Terry Francona learned.

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