NEW CASTLE —
What do you think, young people?
Is Mr. Baker right about you?
If you don’t mind, I’ve got your back on this one. I don’t think you’re lazy at all.
Distracted, yes. Very.
Video games, reality TV, Facebook. Not bad things, but they’re constantly pulling you away from the best things.
But lazy? No, not at all. This year I’ve had the pleasure of watching some of the hardest-working athletes I’ve seen in some time. I’m not buying lazy.
Now that I’ve stuck my neck out to defend you, don’t make a liar out of me.
It’s early February, and that means the basketball regular season is winding down. To that end, your team is in one of two camps:
•Positioning itself for a deep playoff run.
•Out of playoff contention and close to packing the uniforms away for another year.
If you are among the fortunate ones with postseason dreams, it’s pretty easy for you to get motivated to play. Every game counts these days. Heck, every POSSESSION counts. There’s a good chance you’re focused, alert and prepared to tangle with your opponent.
But let’s say you’re on a team that’s 7-12 right now. It’s pretty tough to get out of a warm bus, traipse through the snow and cold, then compete in a game that really doesn’t mean anything.
Unless, of course, you take a different view of athletic competition. Instead of seeing each game as a big picture, which can be overwhelming at times, break it down into much more manageable puzzle pieces.
In other words, forget your teammates. It’s all about YOU.
Yep, I said it. Your next victory or loss is on YOU. So be as greedy as you need to be on the court.
I know all about the locker room signs — “There is no I in team” and “T.E.A.M., Together Everyone Achieves More.”
I won’t argue. But I will make the point that every team is made up of INDIVIDUALS, who must do their singular jobs or the entire unit collapses.
I call this the “50-50 rule.” In any given game, there are dozens of “50-50” opportunities for you to win. Your job, as an INDIVIDUAL, is to take them.
Here are some examples ...
•When a rebound comes off the board, you and the opponent you are boxing out have a 50-50 chance to get the ball. Get the rebound.
•When a loose ball is on the floor, you and your opponent have a 50-50 chance to dive on the court and grab it. Secure the loose ball.
•If your opponent isolates you in a clear-out, you have a 50-50 chance to stop him from getting to the basket. Don’t let him score.
•If your opponent is pressing you and denying the inbounds pass, you have a 50-50 shot to get open. Get the pass.
Stop focusing on the scoreboard — that’s “big picture.” You, individually, are not competing against the other team anyway.
Instead, start focusing on the player right in front of you. But here’s the twist: You are not really battling him either.
You are always competing against YOURSELF. Someone else just happens to be in the way of you getting the rebound ... securing the loose ball ... making the stop ... catching the inbounds pass.
In reality, you are competing against your lack of stamina, against a lack of determination, against a lack of courage and toughness.
You are competing against laziness, as Mr. Baker might say — and distraction.
So what does all of this mean as you hit the floor for your next game?
Well, as always, your team has a 50-50 shot to emerge victorious.
The odds, as you might have guessed, increase dramatically every time you win an individual battle.
And I’d be willing to bet that all of you within reading distance will find a way to overcome perceived laziness and distraction to do your job well.
Your coach believes that — and so do I.
You better not make liars out of us.
NEW CASTLE —
What do you think, young people?
- Tim Kolodziej
Tim Kolodziej: Despite critics, Carrie Underwood taught us plenty in the ‘Sound of Music’
It was me. I’ll admit it. I was the viewer who put the “Sound of Music” television special over 18.5 million last Thursday night. Go ahead and pull my “man card,” but I tuned in for three reasons.
Tim Kolodziej: Yes, you ARE ready for high school basketball to start — here's why
Over the course of the next three months or so, you will hear plenty of “We are ...” cheers in the stands. But before the referee tosses the ball into the air tomorrow night, let me share a couple of “You are ...” thoughts.
Tim Kolodziej: I’m thankful for my Starting Five — because I’m not finished yet
I’ll warn you now. You may not make it past “The Hug” in this gorgeous video, but try to watch it anyway. Then read my blog. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you all have a blessed day!
Tim Kolodziej: Why do you play? Only you know for sure
Why do you play? Success is not an accident. You know that, right? No one crashes into a wall and wins the race. The guy on top of the mountain didn’t fall there. He climbed. You don’t buy the gold medals they slip on you at the Palumbo Center. You earn them.
Tim Kolodziej: ’Cats will learn from their mistakes — and we should, too
Was Tuesday a national holiday? It should have been. I know I was celebrating the start of the college basketball season with ESPN’s marathon of hoops.
Tim Kolodziej: Here's a photo experiment that just might make you smile
If you're a poser like I am sometimes, then this unique photography experiment just might make you smile. If nothing else, I hope it makes you think.
Tim Kolodziej: Powerful ‘Captain Phillips’ commands attention
“Does my family know?” A simple question. Just four words. That’s it. That’s all Captain Richard Phillips wanted to hear after a horrifying ordeal at sea when he was taken hostage by Somali pirates.
Tim Kolodziej: Despite the lies, there is ALWAYS a day after
What do we REALLY want? More money? A spot on the team? Fame? Security? Love? The respect of our classmates or colleagues? All of the above? Something else?
Tim Kolodziej: No defying ‘Gravity,’ but we sure can learn from it
“Gravity” is a film that will stick with you long after you leave the cineplex. There are dozens of life lessons we can siphon from this fantastic piece of cinema, but for time’s sake, I’ve narrowed the list to five, based on dialogue in the movie.
Tim Kolodziej: You already ARE changing the world — but be careful how
The ripple effect. Chances are, you know exactly what that means. I’m guessing you can even see a vivid image of it in your mind.
- More Tim Kolodziej Headlines
- Tim Kolodziej: Despite critics, Carrie Underwood taught us plenty in the ‘Sound of Music’