Little Big Men - By Mike Lynch
mike_lynch.jpgHow many times have you heard this from a coach who has selected his team? "I'm sorry, you're just not big enough. You're not tall enough. You're not strong enough. Maybe next year when you grow a bit?"

Nothing frosts me more than that type of thinking from a coach who stares at a clipboard and picks a player based on height and weight. There is no instrument to measure heart, courage and guts, and quite often the players who possess these traits are the players that "aren't big enough."

Let me trot out a few guys who were told, when they were your age ,that they "weren't big enough." Let's start with Dustin Pedroia who told me once that throughout his whole life he was told that "he wasn't tall enough or fast enough." All he did was win the Rookie of the Year Award in 2007 and the MVP Award in 2008.

How about Brian Gionta, at 5'7" the shortest player in the NHL. He wears size 5 skates but he also wears the "C" on his sweater as captain of the fabled Montreal Canadiens. 

Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning is 36 years old and has been hearing the same garbage about his height since his bantam days. Listed at 5'8", Martin went undrafted by the NHL after graduating from Vermont. "Too small?" Not too small to lead the NHL in scoring in 2004, win the MVP award and a Stanley Cup as well.

Brad Marchand of the Bruins is listed at 5'9". "Throughout my hockey career I constantly had to prove myself,"  said Marchand.  In his rookie season with the Bruins he scored 21 goals, added 19 assists while in constant motion, harassing opponents. Marchand has been an integral part of the Bruins success.

And finally we get to Wes Welker of the Patriots. In a sport littered with 300 pounders, Welker plays as large as anyone in the NFL even if he went undrafted. He was signed and cut by the Chargers, then signed by the Dolphins where in one game he; caught a pass, returned a punt, a kickoff, kicked a field goal, an extra point and even made a tackle. Bill Bellichick never told Welker he was "too small." In his first three seasons with the Patriots Welker caught 346 passes and made three Pro Bowls.

You get my point. The next time someone questions your height, weight or speed just smile and tell yourself you could be the next Pedroia, Gionta, St. Louis, Marchand or Welker.
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