Learning life-lessons through sports…Hardin’s book a must have

Published 6:00 am Saturday, June 29, 2019




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In the world of sports, no player or teams take the field of competition intending to lose. There is a desire to win birthed in every individual.

However, there is a more serious side to athletics and that is what lessons are gained from participating and how will those lessons turn into success during life.

Elizabethton resident and former Cyclone basketball coach Tony Hardin dives deep into that subject in his recently released self-help book titled ‘Everyone Can Win’ published by the Publishing Advantage Group.

Hardin said the book came as part of his passion for sharing from his experiences as a head coach of 30 years who has seen many things during his career that he hopes can help others.

“I coached for 30 years and about two years ago I started, really the book started writing itself when I started coaching to tell you the truth, just thinking about how things go on,” Hardin stated.

“I retired from teaching and coaching and I worked in sales for four years for Planet HS, so I was driving a lot and it came to mind that I should start talking into a recorder that I had about some things that I had on my mind.

“The company got bought by a larger company and I got laid off and that’s when I sat down and started writing seriously about two years ago,” Hardin continued. “When we moved back here, it became one of those I wanted to get it done kind of things— a passion that it needed to be out there.”

Hardin didn’t want the book to give step-by-step instructions on how everything needs to be done, but through a series of short stories exposes lessons that could help the readers.

“The whole book is a self-help kind of thing for people to help them think about the repercussions of their actions whether they are parents, coaches, or players,” Hardin said.

“The big deal with the ‘Everyone Can Win’ concept is athletics is a great teacher of life skills and if you approach it correctly, you will learn how to be successful in life.

“But, if your approach is wrong you are going to lose a lot of those lessons and you are not going to turn out right and that is going to mess with what could have happened.”

In writing the book, Hardin spread the book into five sections to help everyone: parents, coaches, players, and support staff that included teachers, administrators, and extended family.

The final section addresses why competitive sports are essential in teaching life skills that go beyond the scope of sports.

“The largest section of the book is on parents because I think parents love their kids and want the best for them but very often they display that love in ways that are actually stealing away the opportunities from sports that can teach them life skills,” stated Hardin.

“Nobody wants their kid to lose but they might learn a little bit if they lose. It’s that whole fall-down thing.

“I was a parent of three sons and I get it,” continued Hardin. “You don’t ever want them to fall or skin their knee but life is going to skin their knee at times and sometimes you just have to do that and let them experience it.

“Maybe the sport is not for them or perhaps they decide they are going to work harder, so that’s the deal.”

In his book, some of the stories have names associated with them according to Hardin and other times Hardin changed the names in the event the story could have put someone in a bad light.

The editor of Hardin’s book shared that the book was written in a way that people could relate and not be overwhelmed with a lot of information. The book presents a story and then yields to the reader what can be learned.

Hardin said that while putting the book together, it never failed that he would ask one question to everyone he came in contact with.

“In traveling with the sales job, every time that I met someone I asked if they played sports growing up and if they learned a life lesson and I never met one person that said they didn’t learn something,” Hardin commented.

“Even the people who had a very negative experience would say, “I did learn this, I did learn how that I had to deal with a bad boss or I learned how to deal with adversity.”

Hardin feels that his book is coming out at the right time, especially with the way society is embellishing the philosophy of entitlement where every athlete deserves a trophy.

“That fights against it,” Hardin added about the whole idea of entitlement. “I do think that parents and the support personnel around them can guide them a little bit, but I believe that the sense of entitlement steals that from them.

“It’s like where the Little League team lost and the parents beat up the umpire. Those kinds of things are happening all the time and its either the parent or the kid that thinks I have got to win—I have got to do this.

“To me, that’s not the picture. The picture is to experience it, see what you learn from it and move on. How many kids are going to become professional athletes—not that many and if they are, they will figure it out anyway.”

In the overall scheme of life, Hardin feels that parents have a much bigger job at hand.

“Parents just need to be super supportive and loving and do that,” Hardin said. “It’s not like you don’t want to be supportive. 

“When you think about it, the biggest job of a parent is to teach your kid how to be a successful adult and to me, you are robbing yourself of a chance to do that if you are a helicopter parent when it comes to sports.

“I am not trying to tell people what to do. I am only trying to get people to think,” continued Hardin. “People need to think about their actions because it is very easy to overreact, especially when your kid is involved.

“The question is, what are you teaching your kid because your kid is watching you.”

There have been great reviews so far regarding the book as a reader went as far as saying it brought tears to her eyes according to Hardin. Another reader stated that it was a must-read for every parent of an athlete.

The book can be purchased online at Amazon by simply typing in the name of the book ‘Everyone Can Win’ along with Hardin’s name. Hardin also has a couple of local book signings coming up.

The first one is July 12th at Beef O’Brady’s followed on July 15th at Anytime Fitness. Both signings will run from 5 pm to 7 pm. The cost of the book is only $15.