Jan 6, 2022


As teams are starting pre-season practice and preparation, I’m reminded of a song from Dragon Tales we’d sing as we gathered for the “welcome back to school dinner”. Does anybody remember that song from Dragon Tales? BETCHA CAN!



I use to watch this every morning when my daughter, Chelsea, was a baby – I was an attorney with my own law practice and had coached in the recreational leagues since my high school days (mostly football, basketball & baseball). Then in 2000, my wife, Stefni, became the new head softball coach at U.L. and “needed” my help (she was pregnant with Andrew) —which I agreed to help. And she & I made a “BETCHA CAN DEAL”, we would be back in the College World Series.

At our very first team meeting, we hosted a dinner at our home and cooked a fabulous meal and talked about our vision AND WATCHED DRAGON TALES. So in the mornings, I’d watch Dragon Tales with Chelsea, then go to my law office and practice law all day, then I would go to softball practice about 3:30 and I would sing BETCHA CAN as I pitched in the one and only batting cage we had at the time (with NO PITCHING MACHINES and hardly any equipment at all). It caught on and we adopted it as our team slogan. BETCHA CAN! WHY NOT US!


The team roster in 2001 when we took over: 10 Louisiana girls out of 15 – 5 from Lafayette and 4 of whom played on my wife’s local travel ball team; no more California players (that pipeline was over with; now was the dominance of the PAC 12 and the advent of SEC softball). Our proud softball program in Lafayette, Louisiana was all of a sudden struggling with the growth of softball around the country and had just missed the NCAA postseason for the first time after the 1998 regular season under the previous head coach who just bolted to the SEC.

Here was our stadium. Dugouts made of chain link fence and tin metal; lights with only 4 bulbs in them and only 4 total light poles; one batting cage and no pitching machines. So what did we do? We sang BETCHA CAN and pitched batting practice on the field until the “old” lights overheated and had to be shut off.

EVERYDAY we talked about winning Regionals and going to Oklahoma City and playing in the Women’s College World Series. We did not see limitations – we saw opportunities.

When you become certain of something; when every part of your being (heart, soul and mind) believes it; when you focus on accomplishing it every single day – something MAGICAL CAN HAPPEN.
When you have a clearly defined purpose and mission that you live in a state of certainly that YOU WILL ACHIEVE IT, the reticular activating system in our brains decides what to FOCUS ON & WHAT TO DELETE.

So as the #4 seed in the Cal-State Fullerton NCAA Regionals – WE WON! BETCHA CAN!

Here is the 2003 Ragin Cajuns WCWS starting line-up with only Summar Lapeyrouse/Senior being a holdover from the previous coaching staff. Our 5 new recruits were in the starting line-up (4 Sophomores and 1 freshman); 5 starters from Louisiana and 3 from Texas & McMurtry, a transfer from Illinois State whose brother was on the UL Baseball team.

And ended up in the WCWS, with all power 5 schools – the PAC 12 was still dominant back then with Arizona and UCLA having won multiple National Championships and Washington and CAL being perennial powers; Texas had Cat Osterman, Coach Gasso was laying the foundation at Oklahoma and 2003 was about the time of the emergence of the SEC.

Look at the participants below and tell me who is NOT SUPPOSE TO BE THERE.


Look at the list of coaches — what is my name doing on there in 2003? I was still an attorney, who came from rec-ball coaching —but I had the RIGHT MINDSET, NO SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS, I had already survived one battle with cancer, and Stef & I created the right learning environment even though we did not have access to the proper resources of the other schools we were competing against. We just sang Dragon Tales to our players while taking batting practice and convinced them that OK City and the WCWS was POSSIBLE —and we told them to swing for the fences.

When Stef and I left UL, the IMPOSSIBLE was transformed into the POSSIBLE! Stef & I spearheaded the fundraising and oversaw the day to day construction of the new stadium and locker room (2009-2010). The once proud softball program that she played for and was an All-American pitcher for would not be an asterisk as the SEC emerged onto the scene in our backyard. NO, the little mid-major program would have staying power because a core group of people believed “BETCHA CAN”!

* Remember, those self-limiting thoughts that are in your head are your CHOICES; get rid of them NOW;
* Remember, the false labeling done by some administrator in some fancy office should never define you nor your goals; ignore their distortions, their intellectual dishonesty and their manipulation of the fake news-that’s what “petty politicians” do;
* Remember, naysayers, haters, gossipers, dream stealers, etc. are small minded who are incapable of big ideas & helping you with your growth and development; they are all talk and tweets & no action;
* Remember, those others who try to get you to self-limit your thoughts are doing so you will accept their self-limited views & mediocre status quo; PURSUE EXCELLENCE in spite of them;
* Remember, YOU CAN CHANGE your thoughts and the thoughts of a community from IMPOSSIBLE TO POSSIBLE; DO IT;

*And it starts with a simple little song from a kid’s cartoon show with the greatest lyrics-BETCHA CAN!


Experts said for years that the human body was simply not capable of running a mile in under 4 minutes; that is was dangerous; it would cause the heart to explode; simply impossible. In the 1940’s, the mile record was pushed to 4:01, where it stood for over 9 years. The MIND STUCK WITH THAT NUMBER AS A BARRIER AND A SELF-LIMITING BELIEF.

It took a sense of extreme certainty – SOMEONE BELIEVING IN THE POSSIBLE OF IMPOSSIBLE. That someone was Roger Bannister. He had to break down the self-limiting mental barrier that had science and scientist telling everybody that the 4 minute mile was UNDOABLE.

Bannister broke the four-minute barrier at Oxford on May 6, 1954 with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. He broke the barrier by 6/10ths of a second. The BIGGER DEAL was his SUCCESSFUL DEFIANCE OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIER and the belief that it was impossible to run a mile in less than four minutes. He changed the IMPOSSIBLE TO POSSIBLE.

The belief in “BETCHA CAN” for Bannister was to show EXTREME CERTAINTY in himself to do what others considered impossible and undoable. Creating that certainty in himself without seeing ANY PROOF THAT IT COULD BE DONE IS WHAT CHAMPIONS ARE MADE OF. It’s being a visionary; an agent of change and possibilities; a believer in WHY NOT ME. Once accomplished, it is liberating for others; once he broke down the barrier and the rest of the running world SAW IT WAS INDEED POSSIBLE, then the 4 minute barrier became broken routinely.


The foundations of success are rooted in the PROCESS OF GROWTH and DEVELOPMENT. At the outset of trying to achieve any goal, there can be NO SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS. The mind must be free and clear to believe and think: BET I CAN. And the roadmap has to be about KEEP GOING, KEEP GROWING, KEEP WORKING at it with devotion and discipline day after day.

The times when you fall down, GET UP. The times when you fail, LEARN AND GROW FROM IT. When everybody else is taking a break, you will be spending the extra hours working at it, thinking about how to accomplish it and planning your next move.

Its during this process that the most valuable lessons are learned, especially when the emptiness of disappointment is felt.

AT THAT MOMENT of emptiness and disappointment, you must decide:

  • YES I CAN —feeling the certainty in yourself to do what others think is undoable and committing your invisible determination to the task at hand — rather than
  • giving in to the naysayers and accepting the rope others want to tie around your ankle— those self-limiting beliefs that say: this is too hard; this is impossible.

With resolve and perseverance:

  • You will enjoy the greatest gratification and fulfillment of the fruits of your labor.
  • You will be better for it – because of the thousands of hours spent to achieve it.
  • You will GROW, and the growth you acquire on the journey will help you get rid of the mindset of self-limiting beliefs.
  • You will rid yourself of the negative influence of naysayers.
  • You will learn the power of YES I CAN.
  • You will BELIEVE IN YOU.
  • You will work with discipline and devotion to figure out solutions to problems.

Goals in sports and athletics sometimes seem like an impossible feat. And too many times, we just accept that it is IMPOSSIBLE INSTEAD OF BELIEVING IN THE POSSIBLE.

Do not limit yourself based on what you think is possible right this moment nor based upon past performance nor past successes or failures.

In order to do something that you have never done before, you must BELIEVE IT IS POSSIBLE IN YOUR MIND FIRST WITH CERTAINTY AND CLARITY.

Focus on your goal with passion and purpose and discipline and devotion and block out all others who tell you that it is IMPOSSIBLE.


What’s your impossible? Remember, that rope around your ankle and those self-limiting thoughts in your head are your choices and your decisions that are just waiting to hear you sing that Dragon Tales song, BETCHA CAN – and change those thoughts of IMPOSSIBLE TO POSSIBLE; changing the NO YOU CANNOT to YES I WILL!


About the Author

Mike Lotief coached 17 successful years as either the head softball coach or co-head softball coach with his wife Stefni Whitton Lotief at the University of Louisiana from 2002-2017 with an overall coaching record of 731-176 (80.6 winning percentage). Every season, the Ragin Cajuns softball team advanced to the NCAA tournament and also advanced to three (3) Women’s College World Series (2003, 2008, 2014) and from 2012-2016 advanced to five (5) straight NCAA Super Regionals. Coach Lotief produced over 40 All American selections and his 2017 team lead the nation in scoring and was ranked in the Top 10 in home runs, slugging percentage, on base percentage.

The coach is a cancer survivor (twice) and was the first person in the U.S. to receive the Pro Trach device. Mike and Stefni spearheaded and raised the funding to build the new softball stadium in 2009 and the new softball indoor hitting facility in 2015. They are proud parents to Chelsea, who played softball and graduated from the Univ. of Louisiana in 2018, and Andrew, who is a junior at Louisiana studying Mechanical Engineering.

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