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Last week was a crazy mix of yell so loud you can’t talk the next day, fall in to bed exhausted, and on top of the world with excitement kind of weeks. My twin boys are on the 9th grade basketball team for their school. Jens starts as point guard and Josh starts as shooting guard, and to round it all out, my husband Steve is the coach. It’s literally all in the family!!
This week was their end of the season tournament, and who knew I could learn so much from a junior high basketball tournament! Our team had played well all year, but had lost three times to a local charter school called Lincoln. Now, Lincoln’s team is coached by a former college and NBA basketball player that stands 6 feet 10 inches tall. When he and Steve talk before the game, I always chuckle – Steve looks like a little kid standing next to him. Students come to the school for basketball and for the chance to play for this coach. Last year they beat our team by 40 points or more each game. This year was a little different – they beat our team in overtime the first game, and the third game we were up by 15 before losing at the buzzer by a last minute shot. We knew we had a chance to win if we played them in the tournament.
Monday the tournament began. We played a tough team, but our kids couldn’t miss. Rather than running up the score, Steve ended up putting in the third string little kids by the end of the game. Lesson learned – play hard, but always be respectful of the feelings of others. Simple but powerful.
Tuesday is my long day at work (those of you who like later appointments know this!). I worked hard all day long so I could finish right on time to get to the game. As I sped up to South Jordan, I wondered why my kid’s successes were more powerful for me than even my own. This was the second lesson – I seem to always be running out of time and energy, but if I spend that time and energy helping others to succeed (like my kids), that person uses the energy I gave to do more, and it keeps going. I see this at the dental office every day. If I help someone regain their smile, the good that can come from that smile is many times more than what I could ever do on my own. Lesson learned – if I give of my time, energy and love selflessly, it multiplies and the world is a better place because of it.
I made it to the game. They played hard and won the second game without too much trouble. That meant we would be up against Lincoln on Wednesday.
The game started just like two of the other three games we had played against this team. We came out strong and pulled ahead early. We were up by more than 10 at half time, and it was looking like deja vu. We had been here before, and both times we had lost it at the end. Like every good coach, Steve had replayed things many times over in his head. He took the previous losses on as his fault, and had practiced for these very situations. They had practiced over and over. Would it be enough???
I was physically sore and exhausted after this game – I was either squeezing my hands tightly together, clapping as loudly as I could, or screaming at the top of my lungs the entire time! It came down to the end of the game, and the practice paid off. They held on and won the game- finally! This one taught me that we can all have good intentions of doing the right things, and even succeed at first in our goals and desires, but that’s not what really counts. Good intentions and early success only get you half of the way. If you really want to succeed in anything, you have to keep pushing, even when you’re tired and want to give up. Lesson learned: if you want to really win at a goal or area in your life, you must be determined to keep going even when it gets hard. You are the one who decides whether you will win or lose.
After that win, the rest was just icing on the cake. We were playing for the championship Thursday night. The kids were tired. The team they were playing started off with a full-court press from the first minute. For those that aren’t big on basketball, that means they were putting a lot of pressure on our team. A press is exhausting, for our team and theirs. Despite the pressure, both teams played well, and at half time we were ahead..but not by much. I don’t know how the team felt, but the fans were nervous!
The second half started and something changed. Jens came alive. In any successful team, family or organization, there is always someone that is the play maker. This is the person that can see ways around problems, that sees the good through all of the bad, and that makes it happen despite the odds. When that leader emerges, it’s like magic. Not only did we win, but we won by a big margin. The final score was 28-43, and Jens had scored 26 of those points himself (almost as much as the other team combined!). I am a proud mom because it was my son, but it helped me realize a key to success. Lesson learned: in every team or family, everyone must do their part… but if there is a clear play maker that can lead, and if the other members learns to follow, that team or family can create magic!
Wow, what a week! You can see the pictures of my triumphant boys below! (Josh is #2, Jens is #4) Now I see why so many motivational, feel good movies are sports movies – the emotions can go from very low to very high in the same hour! I want you to think about a team you are on – whether it’s your family team at home or a team you are on at work. How can you help that team win? Maybe you could add a little respect or be more self-less in the way you spend your time and energy. Maybe it’s time for you to decide to push on even in the hard times, and become an amazing leader or follower to help create the magic! I want you to decide one thing that you can do to help your team this week.
Thanks for letting me share about my boys. Now I’m going to go lay down – being a sports mom is exhausting!
Love, Dr. Michelle Jorgensen