1. strong enough to withstand adverse conditions or rough or careless handling.
synonyms: durable, strong, resilient, sturdy, rugged, solid, stout, long-lasting, heavy-duty, industrial-strength, well-built, made to last.
2. involving considerable difficulty or hardship; requiring great determination or effort.
synonyms: arduous, onerous, strenuous, grueling, exacting, difficult, demanding, hard, taxing, tiring, exhausting, punishing, laborious, stressful, back-breaking.
1. a tough person, esp. a gangster or criminal.
synonyms: ruffian, thug, goon, hoodlum, hooligan
1. endure a period of hardship or difficulty.
My son was cut from his high school basketball team this week. I had incredibly mixed feelings about him even making the team again. His experiences last year – to say it nicely – were character building. Along with a stimulating education on the many uses of the f-word, he whole-heartedly learned the meaning of the word tough. Tough – not like I can kick anyone’s trash, but tough – as in able to handle incredibly difficult situations. He found out what he was made of. It’s a skill that should be valued more than the ability to dunk a ball through a silly hoop. Funny thing, his coaches would probably say he was cut because he wasn’t tough enough. Yes, while other teammates were bossing the underclassmen and taking advantage of every situation to exploit another, my son was helping carry the equipment. Toughness is remembering how it felt when you were degraded and choosing not to do that to others. Toughness is being concerned about each individual and helping them to feel included. Toughness is knowing your chances of making the team might be slim but sticking with it and taking advantage of every opportunity to improve your skills while others who feel comfortable with their spot on the team do not even show up. Toughness is following the rules even when others – the privileged few who don’t need to – are not. Toughness is being completely knocked down and showing up the next day.
His coach said he wished there was room on the team to keep him. It was a nice sentiment, but sadly, there will never be room on the team for kids like my son. And quite frankly it is their complete loss.
For additional reading on the my son's basketball experience, my previous post is a memoir paper I wrote for school.