Developing Character at Home and on the Court

My name is Sandy Brondello and I am a mother of two beautiful children: my son Brody is 9 and my daughter Jada is 6, and they both attend St. Thomas the Apostle School in Phoenix. I am a wife to my husband Olaf Lange, and I am also the coach of the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA.

How do I know good from bad? How do I know compassion? How do I know honesty? How do I know to always tell the truth?

That comes from the experiences I had as a child.

Children, starting at a young age, learn from their experiences. A lot of their time is spent in school, so if parents and teachers can build on that together, we can help our children be successful, happy and virtuous. Virtue means moral excellence, goodness, and righteousness. It means having good character. That is the ultimate goal. But it is constant work.

When I look to put the team together with my general manager, we’re looking at talent, but we are also looking to find the right fit. In the end, we look for people with high character.

Now, that doesn’t mean we will not bring in someone we think is lacking character, because everyone can change. God’s intention sees good in everybody, and I like to see everyone in that way too. Without negative experiences or learning curves, we would never grow to be the person God intends us to be.

I was a four-time Olympian, and as much as I have achieved in sports is matched by the amount I have learned from and been shaped into the person I am today by sports. It is not always easy, and even though I was at the top of my sport, it wasn’t always easy.

While being injured, I would think, “Maybe this is God’s way of strengthening some other part of me that needed it, and the only way He could get my attention was to take me away from what I loved.” I am grateful for that because it helped me become the best person that I can be.

Through all of this, I have firmly realized that adversity defines character. It is not going to be how you want it to be all the time, but if you can practice the virtue of perseverance, that will define your character. As a result, you will be happier being true to who you want to be and who God wants you to be.

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