What is your definition of a champion?

November 17, 2022

By Jeff Becraft


I once asked our son’s baseball coach to speak to a group of guys I was working with through Fairway Outreach. We had taken them out of town for a weekend camp.

He asked them, “What is your definition of a champion?”

The answer I wrote down was: “A person who plays the same no matter what the scoreboard says.”

A vivid example of this was from a guy named O’Jay. He was on that weekend camp.

I had inherited a basketball team one year from a friend of mine because his work schedule no longer allowed him the time to coach. Our son played on that team. So did O’Jay.

We grew a lot that season as a team and we made it to the semi-finals in the end-of-the-season tournament. We were a little bit overmatched in that semi-final game and towards the end of the game, we were behind by 9. With only a few seconds left, we had the ball and the ball started to go out of bounds.

O’Jay went flying through the air, grabbed the ball in midair, spun around, and threw it off the leg of one of the opposing players. It stayed our ball. I came off the bench and blurted out, “That’s what I’m talking about!”

There was no chance of us winning the game… but O’jay was still giving 100%, still going all out, still giving his best. Regardless of the scoreboard. To me, that is a champion.

I went into a store today. It was sad and disheartening. The atmosphere was dead, employees were just sitting or leaning on something, there was no enthusiasm from anyone.

I realize that Covid has affected us individually and as a society and has changed a lot of dynamics… but what has happened to excellence? What has happened to giving our best? (And by the way, none of the employees looked like they were enjoying their day.)

I encourage us today – regardless of Covid or any other negative influence or whatever circumstances we might be facing, let’s go out there and give our best. Let’s go 100% and go all out.

That is a mark of champion… regardless of what the scoreboard says.


Jeff Becraft is the Interim Director of Our Place of Hope and the Director Emeritus for Youth Corps and has dedicated much of his life to helping shift the vision of people’s lives. Youth Corps is a life-changing leadership development experience that inspires high school students to be leaders in the Midlands and beyond. You can connect with Jeff at [email protected].