Jason McCourty’s father died when he was just three years old. His mother faced a tall task, raising Jason and his twin brother Devin on her own. I didn’t ever look at it as a disadvantage because my mom didn’t make it seem that way.
The twins inherited their father’s love of team sports, but their mother made it clear that participating in sports necessitated maintaining good grades. Those were her values, and they were very important to me growing up. Just watching the way she coped with adversity helped me to develop strong values as I grew.”
As much as he loved sports and was a naturally gifted athlete, developing a commitment to regular practice took almost as much pushing from his mother as did his academic habits. “I started Pop Warner football when I was ten,” he recounted. “The first year was great. The second year, we had practices starting August 1st from 6 to 8 p.m. every single night, and by the end of August I was tired of going every day. I’d be outside playing and when my mom told me it was time to get ready for practice, I just wouldn’t want to go. In fact I wanted to quit. But my mom said no way: I’d already signed up for it and started the season, and as far as she was concerned that meant I’d made a commitment. She let me know that when you commit to something, you see it through.”
Even though he was only eleven, Jason understood that the issue was about commitment and not about football; his mother didn’t mind if in the future he gave up the sport. “She said I had to finish out the year, and if I wanted to quit, I would have to wait until the following year and make the decision not to play before it started.” The lesson was crystal-clear, Jason said. “That taught me plainly that quitting wasn’t the right thing to do.
He was glad he saw the season through—that year and later when he looked back on the experience. “It made me realize that my mom was right; she knew that I didn’t want to quit. When you’re a kid and you’re doing one thing—which in my case was running around with my friends having a good time—it’s hard to give that up and do something else, like go to football practice every day. But she knew in the long run, I’d be happier if I stayed on the team, and she was right. I had fun and I had a lot of friends on the team. So, once I stuck it out, I never second guessed it. It taught me that quitting in the beginning isn’t always the best thing. Stick it out and you’ll see that that hard work you’re putting in at that time will start to pay off.”
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