Sunday, April 11, 2010

Duke v. Butler – a life lesson

First off, a disclaimer. I don’t know anything about basketball, so don’t shred me if I cross some imaginary line of sports ignorance. I am representative of a large silent block of people who are mildly curious, but not fanatical about random college competitions. See, right there; I have already lost the diseased and diehard NCAA ‘face-painter’ folks – because to them, collegiate basketball is as important as LIFE itself! Well I don’t know about THAT, but I did tune in for a few minutes to the Duke / Butler showdown and there was a life-lesson in all that “HOOP-la”.

I already knew that Duke University students were nuts about basketball. My kid had just last year gone through the college selection process, and this fact was readily apparent. I never had heard of Butler but everybody loves a Cinderella story and the news had quickly deemed the Bulldogs as this year’s best bet to fulfill that role. The little school out of Indiana just kept winning and winning and the ‘legendary’ hype kept growing and growing. All I knew was that most anytime I turned on the television somebody was bouncing a ball over the last month. Both teams had worked hard to make it to the finals. Both teams EXPECTED to win and Duke came out on top, but did they ‘Deserve’ it?

In the end, I think the game turned out ‘correctly’, though it is not the “Hollywood”ending that so many were rooting for. Both teams played well and in other ways, both teams let opportunity slip away. Whether at work or in play, generally, THAT is the ultimate balancing act in competing for anything in real life. Everybody starts out with an empty tool box, and you constantly add skills and knowledge to it throughout your life. The goal is to know when and how much to apply of each (or any at all) from your collection of tools and experience to result in a ‘Win’. Just like the basketball game, every goal, every challenge, and every THING, you consider important will take work and a LOT of it to get it right. Sometimes the differences between beating the odds, winning the job, or just showing up for a handshake, is a razor-thin line.

People like fairy tale endings because all youthful fantasy seems so perfect; so easy, and pre-determined. Real life is never set in stone; it is something that you go out and fight for to earn your place – just like Duke vs. Butler. We all have some handicaps and we all just plain ‘miss’ sometimes. It is ok and it’s normal to ‘come oh so close’ or even ‘fail completely’. Both of those results and infinite combinations of both ALL add to life’s toolbox and allow you to gain invaluable knowledge (hopefully) from the experiences.

So in life’s little showdowns or the important stuff like collegiate sports, smile a knowing smile and walk with your head high. Learn a little ‘something’ from EVERYTHING you do and never stop filling your knowledge toolbox even if every experience does not result in a perfect Hollywood ending. Half of the battle will be won purely in confidence and demeanor alone regardless of outcome. If you behave like you ALREADY belong in the winners circle, people will notice, and more importantly they will WANT you to be there too. Winning and self confidence are infectious afflictions. Make the fairy tale come true and prove that this is one disease, that you truly DESERVE!

No comments:

Post a Comment