This is the final post of a 5-part series on team themes. In each of these posts, I have covered two themes and a few quotes in support of them. If you have not read the other posts, make sure you go back and check each of them out. Today we wrap up the series with the themes of Courage & Leadership.

As I have said at the beginning of each of these posts, for many years I established, taught, and developed team themes with my teams. Whether it be our team’s core covenants, values, & standards, Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, or just random life lessons that I believe are important to discuss with our kids, I have chosen various themes that we focused on throughout the season. For our discussions of those themes, I always had quotes in support of them.

As it is now graduation time, I thought this would be a good time to do these posts because all of the themes and quotes in these posts make up the ten sections of my gift book for graduating seniors called Inspiration for the Graduate. The book is an excellent gift for coaches, teachers, and parents to give to graduating seniors. While the book covers the themes in more detail, and it has more quotes supporting the themes, these posts give you a glimpse into what the book is like.


Courage is oftentimes a misunderstood word, and it is especially misunderstood by young people. So often, people believe that courage is something that is dramatic or newsworthy, like running into a burning building to save a baby. While that certainly is a courageous act, courage occurs in many other instances in life that are not anywhere near so dramatic, and yet can be almost as important for the people involved.

True courage is often seen in the everyday elements of life, the decisions that people make on a regular basis. These decisions can be those that are made alone or in groups and teams.  As we explore the concepts of courage, we start to see that courage is all around us, and there are many moments that provide opportunities for us to display courage. Choose to live courageously every day by making the right decisions that affect everyone in the best way possible.

“Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” Mary Anne Radmacher – Author

“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Andre Gide – Author & Nobel Prize Winner

“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” Maya Angelou – American Poet & Author

“To see what is right and not to do it, is lack of courage.” Confucius – Chinese Philosopher 


A leader needs to learn to lead in a variety of ways.  Leadership is not about telling other people what to do. The best leaders realize they are there to serve those they lead.  Leadership is about helping others to realize the potential they have, and then helping them to rise up to that potential and achieve what they are capable of.

But leadership does not have to come from one person in an organization. In fact, the best organizations have multiple leaders at multiple levels. In athletics, while the head coach is the ultimate leader, there are assistant coaches who lead as well. Then there are players who have natural leadership tendencies that allow them to lead their teammates. Finally, sometimes, certain players are bestowed the title of captain, giving them a responsibility to lead the members of the team.

However, any and all members of a team can be leaders, no matter the organization and no matter who the individuals are in that organization. It is critical for the ultimate leaders of the organization to recognize the importance of letting the natural leadership of individuals within the organization come to the forefront.  It is also important for the leader to sometimes recognize that he or she has to cultivate that leadership to come forward.

Leaders are chosen to serve; there is always trouble when a leader forgets this.”  Unknown

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” Thomas J. Watson – Former CEO of IBM

“Leadership must be demonstrated, not announced.” Fran Tarkenton – NFL Quarterback

“If he works for you, you work for him.” Japanese Proverb

This is just a sampling of the kinds of themes you can use with your teams and a glimpse of some of the ideas you can talk about with your teams when discussing these themes. As I said above, each of the ten themes in this series is discussed in my gift book, Inspiration for the Graduate. There are also many more quotes in support of each of the ten team themes covered in the book. Also, the first page is set up for you to write your own personal message to your graduate. The cost of the book is just $7.95 plus shipping, or you can get a 10-Pack Bundle for just $70.00 plus shipping. Click here to order Inspiration for the Graduate.