“On any given night, or any given day, the ball can bounce any way.” – Hassan Adams
Entering tonight, top-ranked Syracuse had won 46 straight home games against unbanked opponents and was riding a 25-game win streak en route to a perfect 25-0 record to start the 2013-14 men’s basketball season. Boston College with its 6-19 record had lost 5 straight games, 9 of 10 road games this season, and 11 in a row to Top 25 teams, including an 0-4 mark this season.
This had all the ingredients for a 26-0 start for Syracuse. Yet, something interesting happened in The Carrier Dome tonight. Syracuse came up short, and Boston College pulled off the 62-59 overtime upset.
Sports are an incredible thing. They provide you with a stage to perform. They afford the underdog with an opportunity to steal the show. Time and time again, they present athletes with the chance to experience competitive greatness–being at your best when your best is needed.
Earlier today, Aaron and I were having a conversation about coaches selling their teams/players short and writing them off. Too often, I have asked coaches about their teams, and they respond by saying, “We are not going to be very good” or “We will not be able to compete this year.” Then, you start asking them about players, and they will say things that range from “He does not throw real hard” to “He will never be able to play for us” to even (sadly) “He is worthless.”
As we continued into this conversation, it led us through a series of rhetorical questions that we posed to one another.
Why aren’t we teaching them (players) to work hard and strive to achieve?
Why are we looking for reasons to write kids off?
Isn’t it our job to provide them with every bit of ammunition needed to succeed?
Why question the unknown?
Why not try as hard as we can and see where it gets us?
Why not give a kid something to feel good about?
Tonight, everyone had written Boston College off. They were already looking ahead to the Duke-Syracuse showdown on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Eagles were to be just another footnote in Syracuse’s quest for an undefeated regular season. Except, someone forgot to tell them.
There is a reason games are not played on paper. Certainly, tonight was not the most memorable upset college basketball has ever seen. Though, that does not mean it still was not a big upset.
However, it reminded me that games have to be played. No game should be taken for granted. The most important game you play all season is the one that you are playing right now. It does not matter who your opponent is. You compete against the game, and lay it all on the line every day.
Coaches, stop selling your teams and your players short. Do not even let those words come out of your mouth…even in confidence to someone else. Speak greatness into your players. Believe in them. Share your confidence in them with them. Pump them up, make them feel good, help them believe. No matter your level of talent believe you can and will win.
Because, on any given night…it is yours for the taking.
Bring your best today!