Former Duke University academic All-American Dick Devenzio oversees a series of basketball camps that attract aspiring players from around the country.
He's also a respected author on the sports scene and has a Web site at www.Point-Guard.Net.
One of his most popular offerings in sports education is "Stuff Good Players Should Know."
Among DeVenzio's musings is a piece entitled "Little Hurts, Big Pictures."
In it, he writes:
"I get the chance to work with more than a thousand basketball players each year, and I keep in touch with enough of them to have become very familiar with a tremendous variety of problems that athletes deal with each season."
"They say their coaches don't understand them, or their teammates are lazy or not dedicated or jealous ... the list goes on and on.
"But the solution to most of the problems is the same most of the time. Athletes need to see the big picture, not dwell on the problems. At the time of a snub or a lost opportunity, or a loss, or an injury, athletes have great difficulty seeing their lives in perspective. I try always to remind them: That's what is meant by adversity, not just opponents and tough games, but all the things that go into sports. Nearly all teams and players have problems. But problems aren't the problem! Your response is what matters."
DeVenzio goes on to give out advice that might be appropriate for all local athletes to adhere to in light of the recent rash of coaching resignations at Payson High School.
"Keep in mind always that you are an athlete. Adversity is your sport and it comes in many forms. Prepare for it, deal with it, and remember: Your job is to learn to do your best, consistently, in spite of difficult circumstances. That is precisely what will earn you admiration and a sense of true worth. Though your problems seem big to you, deal with them calmly and intelligently. That's how to become a true champion."
It seems in our society that the "true worth" Devenzio writes about is something now called "self-esteem." Many youngsters are being raised to believe that "self-esteem" is something doled out in the classroom or counseling sessions.
DeVenzio writes and speaks of basketball, but the advice he offers is really about life.