It Is Just a Game After All

This entry is part 20 of 28 in the series Leadership

Basketball is just a game. I’ve played games all of my life. I’m competitive in solitaire not to mention Monopoly, spades, basketball or anything else. I just want to make sure I’m keeping it in perspective. I hope everyone else will as well.

What is a game? According to the dictionary…..

Game: a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.

A quick aside…

I can’t speak for anyone else, but why did I choose coaching basketball as a career?  A lot of people say it’s all about making a difference in people’s lives. Yes it’s about making a difference in people’s lives. I have made a difference in people’s lives in a number of careers that had nothing to do with athletics. Doctors, teachers, ministers, psychologists, managers, supervisors, nurses and many other professions make differences in the lives of others all the time.  You can make a positive impact on other people as a toll booth operator or a grocery store clerk. Your career doesn’t determine how you impact people’s lives. You do.

Why did I choose coaching? I choose coaching because it’s fun. Recruiting is fun.  Player development is fun. Developing practice plans and game plans is fun. Coaching is fun.

Why did I choose basketball? That started a long time ago. I played basketball, because it was fun. I played basketball growing up in my garage because it was fun. I went outside and played for hours by myself because it was fun. I worked to get better, even when I didn’t have a team to play for anymore, because I enjoyed it. It was fun. I watched countless games on TV growing up because it was fun.

I choose the game of basketball because it’s fun. It’s fun to be in the gym, whether it’s by myself or with a team. It’s fun to shoot. It’s fun to rebound. It’s fun to pass. It’s fun to play. It’s fun to compete whether I’m the worst player on the court or the best. My aside is now a digression.  I apologize.

So many people do not enjoy their careers. If I’m going to spend 8+ hours a day 5-7 days a week for 30 years doing something, I figure I might as well enjoy it.

Does this mean that I take it any less seriously than any one else takes their job?  Does this mean I don’t work as hard as the next person? The people I’ve coached and coached with can speak to that. I take my career very seriously. My wonderful wife tells me to relax every day. I need that.

I think we have to keep it fun. We shouldn’t have to make it fun, but we can’t take the fun away. If players don’t enjoy playing, they shouldn’t play. If it’s not fun, then I don’t understand why anyone would put themselves through all that effort.

I hope I will always keep it fun for teams I coach.

Let me be clear about this as well. A basketball game is not a war. It is a competition. It is not a battle.  It is a form of conflict. Every game starts with a basic premise. “My team is going to play your team and we’re going to find out who is better.” Basketball is fun. There is nothing about a war that is fun.

Let’s hope that no one has to pay the ultimate sacrifice in a game of basketball.  Let’s hope no one loses their freedom as a result of a basketball game. Let’s hope no one needs to go into treatment for post traumatic stress disorder as a result of a basketball game.

War and basketball are in no way, shape, or form comparable.  They are so very different.

There’s no doubt our military personnel could teach us and our athletes a lot about teamwork, discipline and sacrifice. I could end that sentence with a lot of different words. Honestly though, I don’t know how much any one in athletics has to offer them. I’m sure they’ve never sat in a room and compared a mission to a basketball game. We shouldn’t disrespect or insult the sacrifices that they make by making any comparison of our game to a battle or a war. They fight for our freedom to be able to have fun. We’re not fighting for anything.  We are just playing a game.

Basketball is a game. There’s a lot of money in the game. It is certainly a business.  When the buzzer sounds and the game is over, it is just a game after all.

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