Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

October 1, 2008

Lou Holtz Says, "Write Essays, Win Prizes!"

Our offices are just a few football fields away from where Coach Lou Holtz once patrolled the sidelines for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. In May of this year Coach Holtz was named to the College Football Hall of Fame. Today he is a popular host on ESPN's Game Day college football program as well a master motivational speaker. Ave Maria Press is sponsoring a Student Essay Contest in his honor. Among Lou Holtz's famous quotations:

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

Don't be a spectator. Don't let life pass you by.

I can't believe that God put us on this earth to be ordinary.

I can never learn anything by talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.

If what you did yesterday seems big, you haven't done anything today.

If you are bored with life you don't get up every morning with a burning desire to do things—you don't have enough goals.

It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test.

No one has ever drowned in sweat.

Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity.

You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never as bad as they say when you lose.

In A Teen’s Game Plan for Life Coach Holtz writes about how students can make their big dreams come true through a series of smaller daily choices. He names this his WIN formula—“what’s important now.” The message is a practical one for students with all types of interest. Coach Holtz writes:

You want to graduate tops in your class, or be an All-American? Then ask yourself twenty-five times a day, “What’s important now?”

You wake up in the morning—“What’s important now?” Get out of bed.

You’re out of bed—“What’s important now?” Eat breakfast. You need your strength.

“What’s important now?” Go to class.

“What’s important now?” Sit in the front row. Be prepared.

It’s time to practice. “What’s important now? Use the weight room. It’s there to help you get stronger. You don’t use it because someone’s looking, but because you know you’ve got to get stronger.

When you’re out Saturday night and there’s opportunities for alcohol, or sex, or drugs? What’s important now? If your dream is to be outstanding in whatever field you’ve chosen, then “what’s important now” is to avoid these situations.

Student Writing Contest
Have your students write a 300-word essay that answers the following questions:
What dreams do your students have?
What practical steps are they taking to achieve their dreams?
How can they apply the WIN formula to their own goals?

We will choose three winning essays and award the following prizes:
• 3rd Place: 1 copy of A Teen’s Game Plan for Life by Lou Holtz
• 2nd Place: 1 copy of A Teen’s Game Plan for Life and a 2008 Notre Dame “The Shirt”
• 1st Place: 30 copies of A Teen’s Game Plan for Life for the entire class and a 2008 Notre Dame “The Shirt”

Attach essays and send by e-mail to:
Michael Amodei
Deadline is EXTENDED to Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Prizes will be announced at the Ave Maria Press Teacher Enrichment Day on Saturday, October 11.

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