6 Lessons I learned from just watching Basketball: Part I

  1. Never give up
  2. Be open-minded
  3. Change
  4. Believe
  5. Always put your best foot forward, and
  6. Speak / affirm your success.

Preface

I know that God speaks to all His creatures (people). The question is whether or not we are receiving or perceiving what He’s saying? It is akin to a radio station; you hear it clearly when your antenna is in sync with the station. Other times, when the antenna is not, it’s muffled and you can get interferences. Interruptions that distorts the messages received will spur the wrong action.

I gravitated wholly to basketball when my daughters got more into the sport in middle school. They both had been playing since they were four. At the time, it was just to occupy their time. However, it turned out to be a sport they both loved, in addition to soccer. Prior to that, personally, basketball was just another sport. I wanted to better understand the game in order to be able to help them be better. So I learned, read, watched, and asked questions. Their dad was not interested in being part of it because he considered it a waste of time and money! Occasionally he would join us for a game, drop and pick them up from practices which all seemed like a “forced” chore.

Basketball is now my #1 pastime.

Observations

While I saw few players being misfits in their initial teams, blossoming when placed in another team, I also noted those who were excelling as starters at one team, relegated to benchers and thus dwindled skills. A few of those players have either faded into NBA oblivion or gone international for a second opportunity.

As with the players, so with the Coaches. A coach (or more) couldn’t coach his team to a championship not to talk of the Playoffs. Yet, when let go and embraced by another team, I watched their teams excelling and reaching Playoffs and Conference Finals.

What was it that changed or why couldn’t the same coach perform at the old team? I wonder repeatedly for an answer.

I also watched teams defeated, that were otherwise sure-bankers for the win, while the underdogs shone over and over. This instance happened to my younger daughter’s big 7th grade championship game! I still remember it to this day. And a few top key players appeared unprepared for certain games, and the benchers were the saving graces for the day.

All these, I hope you agree, demonstrates that nothing is etched in stone and never say never.

Golden Nugget

I shared with my younger daughter, while we were both watching the Milwaukee Bucks-Atlanta Hawks’ Game 6, one thing that had stayed with me over the years from a former CEO. At an office quarterly meeting, he said “we put so much into hiring the right fit and I believe that we have a superb HR Department. If an employee is not performing where we’ve placed him/her, it is not the employee’s fault. It could be that we made a mistake in hiring, which I doubt, or it could be that we placed the employee in the wrong department. Most likely the latter. I implore all managers to give the employee another chance and help find the department where they think the employee might be a better fit, before showing him or her the door. Give the employee time to adjust; learning curve.

The wisdom from that statement stayed with me and I have used it in advising others till date.

I shared that while musingly watching Nate McMillan coach Atlanta Hawks within the year to the Eastern Final; one he couldn’t achieve for Indiana Pacers nor the Portland Blazers during his tenures for four and five years respectively. His closest record to the Atlanta Hawks’ was once during his seven-year season with the Seattle Sonics.

Some thing, or things, definitely changed either connected to his maturity or skills or both. Was he let off too soon at his previous coaching positions and could he have achieved the same, or more, success had he stayed longer? Your answer is as good as mine.

God in Basketball?

God is everywhere and in everything whether you admit or acknowledge it or not. And, yes, he is in the basketball and all games.

One of my favorite scripture chapter is Ecclesiastes 3:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill (my interpretation: this is not to murder anyone, but more in reference to “killing” what is not fruitful in our lives), and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and
a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate (my interpretation: not hating of people, but more of a hate of evil and the heavy things that tend to weigh us down);
a time for war, and a time for peace. …
He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, …
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it; and God hath done it, that men should fear before him.
‭‭(Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:‬ ‭ASV‬‬ verses 1-8, 11a, 14)

I referenced this scripture because winning in basketball, aside from the right fit, is about seasons and times. While the coach strategizes and breaks down the game plan, the players have to build up their game-changing habits, skills, and styles. More of this later.

Is “God” in the basketball, finals, and championship? Yes, you bet He is, though many will disagree with me and loudly say that it’s a matter of skills. And God is in everything though we don’t all see it nor acknowledge Him.

The two finals’ teams have long histories. On one hand one key player has been in the NBA for over a decade, with multiple teams, yet has never reached Finals let alone win a championship. Another was so close to a Final, yet missed it. Both Teams haven’t won in several years. I would propose that each player and both teams are desperate for a deserving win, right? Yet we know that only one will win. Who will it be?

These observations and lessons are not peculiar to this season’s basketball alone, but to every season, game of basketball be it at the school, college, or professional levels, as well as, every spheres of life. But we have to pay attention in order to grasp them.

Someone once said,

“If you pay attention, attention will pay you.”

This statement does not mean seeing the obvious and visible. We don’t need any more attention for that. What it means is that only the diligent and curious will see the latent. How does it relate to basketball and the lessons I have learned?

To be continued … stay tuned to find out.

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