In light of the NBA, NHL, MLB, NCAA and other sports leagues across the world canceling games and suspending seasons, it’s a good time to regain some perspective on life and specifically athletics…
Sports are great → They are possibly the best classroom to teach life lessons. They bring people together like few other things in our society. They can be incredibly entertaining and inspirational. They also generate billions of dollars! But sports are just a game. Let me say that again – sports are merely a game. That is only highlighted by the current health crisis. There are far more important things than a basketball or soccer game, and yes, even the NCAA March Madness Tournament. This is a serious situation and the sports world has been sobered.
I believe things will normalize. It may be weeks or months or longer. The games will go on. And when they do, let’s re-enter athletics with a healthier perspective…
- Athletes: You are far more than a basketball or football or soccer or ___________ player. Athletics are a privilege in which you get the opportunity to take part. I spent too many years playing as a prisoner to my performance. You’re bigger than the box score, greater than your goals and your value doesn’t alter in victory or defeat. When you understand life is larger than the outcome, you no longer have to fear failure and will be able to play with the freedom and courage needed to be your best. Enjoy the challenge!
- Coaches: Your platform and influence come with great responsibility.Your priority is on the person not the player. Winning comes secondary to developing young men and women. Lead with the poise and enthusiasm you want your team to demonstrate. Focus on daily growth, and the results will take care of themselves.
- Fans: You make it fun – for players, coaches and each other! It’s a better game with your engagement. I’ve played a few games with no one in attendance, and in those experiences, a major part of the competition was missing. At the same time, as fans, we can fail to remember that players and coaches are people like us. Support your people through the ups and downs, and honor great competitors, whether they’re on your side or not. If you do talk trash…bring something good. Enjoy the games!
It’s unprecedented for athletic events around the globe to be canceled like this. Every industry will likely be impacted to some degree. While that can sound scary, it’s no time to panic. It’s time to be prudent, and it’s time to pray. Pray for protection and guidance. This may also be a great time to step back and find a healthier perspective, not only in athletics, but in all our pursuits. The games will go on. Travel will pick up. Business will press forward. Remember, there’s a difference between what’s important and what’s really important. Let’s be smart and move forward with more purpose than ever before. Keep looking up…
In the wake of decisions to cancel the NCAA Tournament and all Winter and Spring sports, University of Illinois AD Josh Whitman summed it up extremely well:
“As much as I want our student-athletes to experience the joy of competition, feel the euphoria of victory, and learn from the despair of defeat, recent events are an important reminder that life is bigger than sports. Our focus remains on being healthy, contributing members of our many overlapping communities as we work collectively to address the challenges presented by this terrible virus.”