New Castle News

October 18, 2012

Tim Kolodziej: Four lessons we can all learn from one man’s hoop dream

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News




Just three words that hold little meaning or significance for most people. But maybe, just maybe, that chant uttered at University of Kansas basketball games carries the three most beautiful words in the English language to any fan of the school’s hoop squad.

At least they are for Josh Swade.

Swade’s passion is on display for the world to see in the fascinating documentary, “There’s No Place Like Home,” which is airing now as part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series.

The film opens in 2010 with the KU grad working for a production company in New York. He reads a story about James Naismith’s Original Rules of Basketball going up for auction at Sotheby’s and he becomes driven to bring those rules home to Lawrence, Kan.

For those unfamiliar, Naismith is credited with inventing the game of basketball in 1891 and was the first coach at the University of Kansas.

And for those unfamiliar, Sotheby’s is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine and decorative art, jewelry, and collectibles. Most, if not all, items sell for millions.

In other words, Swade had lots of work to do. What he didn’t have was much time. Or money.

Yet as we watch him chase a dream, Swade relies on four rules of engagement we can all learn from as we pursue our own goals.

1) He followed his passion and refused to quit — From the moment Swade read about Naismith’s rules going up for auction, he knew exactly what his job was — bring them home to the birthplace of basketball. Laser focus. Unwavering and unapologetic. A man on a mission.

Our task: Can we define our dream in one sentence or in 30 seconds? Write yours down now. Memorize it.

2) He did the work — Swade criss-crossed the country to meet up with KU alums and former coaches, often going long stretches without food or sleep. He wrote letters. He made phone call after phone call. He appeared on TV and radio programs to make his plea for help. In other words, he tossed aside the usual distractions of life to keep his eyes on the prize.

Our task: What distracts you from your goal? Television? Facebook and Instagram? Video games? Be honest with yourself and examine all the time-wasters in your life. Then start picking them off, one by one.

3) He shared his enthusiasm for the project with whomever would listen — One wealthy Kansas alum remarked that Swade “could sell ice cubes to an Eskimo.” It’s not so much about being a gifted speaker. It’s about the message you convey.

Our task: What parts of your dream keep you awake at night? What excites you about the possibility of achieving your goal? Share your enthusiasm with those around you to keep your fire burning.

4) He surrounded himself with people of influence — Swade met with former Jayhawk coaches Larry Brown and Roy Williams. He met with high-profile Kansas boosters around the nation. He met with Dr. Mark Allen, the grandson of legendary KU coach Phog Allen, for whom the basketball field house is named. Swade sought out their wisdom. He asked for help. And they all joined his team in some way.

None more so than alum David Booth, who initially said “I’m good for a million,” but was forced to up his commitment in a much greater way during the anxiety-inducing, yet rousing, climax of the film.

So, does Swade succeed in delivering on his goal? I probably shouldn’t answer that. I don’t want to spoil the ending if you haven’t yet seen the film.

But I will close with a question: What do you think?

Now go chase YOUR dream. And be sure to follow Swade’s lead along the way.