Monday, March 9, 2009

One For Their Ages

Tonight, I had a front row seat at an amazing basketball game, one that I can truly say ranks among the best games I've ever been involved in in my 15 years of coaching youth sports.

As their parents and grandparents and siblings looked on, a group of 5th and 6th grade girls, once timd and passive and unsure of themselves, rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to win, 30-29.

The girls's opponent this evening was the best team in the league, Middlebury Blue, which featues the best player in the league, a player who could easily being playing a level or two up. Blue had put a hurting on these girls in January by a score of 29-13.

After that game, their worst loss of the season, the Devil Ducks were 0-3. With their comeback, one they will remember for quite a long time, the girls are now 4-4. And the dreaded Blue team, and it's star player, are no longer intimidating and invincible.

Showing guts they had not before, the local girls pulled themselves up off the floor, sometimes literally, battered and hurting. Displaying a growing confidence that fully blossomed tonight, they played together, they played aggressively, and they played with desire.

When the Devil Ducks pulled within one point with a minute to go, they knew they could do it. For the first time all year, they sensed something big happening and they wanted it. They tied the score, and this group that shied away from yelling "WIN" to break team huddles in its previous seven games, asked to shout that word at the start of overtime.

As I looked in their eyes at that moment, I was more proud of them than of any other team that I've coached, no matter what was to happen. That 29-13 loss just about two months ago was so far gone. They were focused on the here and now.

Winning is not everything. But putting your heart into something and giving it your all is. So is getting up off the canvas when you're down and counted out. Special memories are made of those times.

Yes, tonight I was courtside and it was pure magic. Way to go, Ducks!

Thanks for the memory.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Bright, New Day

As our country's newest president was just beginning his speech, two men who had walked into the restaurant where a co-worker and I had sat at the bar to watch, had this conversation.

"What's going on today?, one asked..
"It's the inauguration," said the other.
"Oh yeah, I forgot," said the first.

There's only one word for that questioner. Forgive me. Idiot.

On the most historic day of our generation, how could you forget that the 44th president of the United States was being sworn in to office? How could you not have been anticipating this moment since November? And like half the patrons in the restaurant, how could you be in the same room with a television and not watch?

I've been back at my desk just under 30 minutes, and already I've re-read the speech and its key phrases.

"...hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord..."

"Our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed..."

"...we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.''

"...the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics..."

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility..."

"The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works..."

Today is indeed a new day, and it's bright and clear and welcome.

President Obama's inaugural address

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let New President & Cabinet Enjoy Themselves

We've all been there. We've all had big moments in our lives. We've all come back to Earth shortly thereafter to deal with the reality before us. So let President-elect Barack Obama and his new Cabinet enjoy the days leading up to, and including the inauguration.

No matter what our triumph, no matter what our high, we know those times are brief interludes in lives filled with ups and downs, with the routine and the mundane, with the crucial and the trivial. We don't forget what business awaits us when the moment passes. We know there are things we have to deal with immediately following.

Life is about living in the moment and about being able to enjoy that moment. We need those times when we can tuck everything else away for a few hours or even a couple of days. It's not that don't realize the importance what we'll have to do after the moment, but we don't have live through the good times feeling guilty for enjoying them.

So, unlike one reporter I heard this morning on CNN, who talked about the incoming administration enjoying itself but..., let's forget the but. Let's all understand that we all understand that the but is there. And let's not bring it up in our conversations, in our analysis, in our questioning.

The President-elect, his family, his staff, his Cabinet and their families may only experience this pomp and circumstance one time in their lives. Let's allow them to enjoy it and not be so caught up in what's coming next.

That's how we would all want it, isn't it?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wonderful or Not? It Depends

One of my favorite movies of all time is It's a Wonderful Life. It ends up being a feel-good movie about the holiday spirit, but it's much more complicated than that.

Here's a column a friend of mine wrote for the New York Times. It's a fantastic look at a movie that became a classic years and years after it's release. I'm sharing it now because, through the season, a couple of weeks removed from seeing it last, I thought you'd probably enjoy reflecting on it more.

Wonderful? Sorry, George, It’s a Pitiful, Dreadful Life