Golden Moment

UpperArlingtonPhoto

a person, team or thing that wins; victor.

 

winner

 

It’s Tuesday again, and you know what that means… today is “Truth Be Told Tuesday.” Thanks for checking in.

 

My original intention was to write about a conversation I had with a good friend surrounding happiness. The conversation explored the question: “Do people deserve to be happy?” My initial thought was that we as human beings don’t deserve much of anything, but that every individual should be afforded the opportunity to pursue happiness within the boundaries of the law.

 

Benjamin Franklin once said; The U.S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”

 

I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

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Smiling With Success

 

 

The more relevant question might be how does one define happiness? Also, each individual must recognize the distinction between happy (adjective) and happiness (noun). To be happy is to be delighted, pleased, or glad, as over a particular thing.

 

Happiness on the other hand is a “quality or state of being happy. “

 

One is determined by our circumstances; the other is determined by our mindset, our attitude. Happiness, like most other good things in life, is a choice — not a birthright.

 

As I mentioned earlier, it was my plan to write about happiness and the pursuit of it, but found myself pondering the Upper Arlington boy’s basketball team and what I had the pleasure to witness over the past ten days. It started with their victory over Pickerington Central in the regional semi-finals, and concluded with an overtime loss to Lakewood St. Edward (located in a Cleveland suburb) in the Division I state championship this past Saturday.

 

Over ten days and four games I noticed firsthand how a group of players and coaches buying into a process, desiring to be supremely competitive and valuing the importance of being mentally tough could galvanize a community and create memories that will last a lifetime — for themselves and others.

 

 

 

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One Community, One Cause

 

 

The Process

 

In order to have substantive and meaningful success as a team or as an individual, there must be an acknowledgment, understanding and commitment made to the process

 

Many times it’s easy to only view the games and forget about the countless sacrifices that have been made by the coaches, players and parents alike.

 

The process isn’t limited to what we see on the court during competition, but what takes place when no one is watching. The summer workouts, the countless hours playing open-gym games and the weight-room workouts are all activities that demand sacrifice and commitment when know one is looking. 

 

At some point it’s imperative you fall in love with process.

 

 

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Total Buy-in

 

 

What these young men have been rewarded with is first-hand knowledge of how crucial it is to accept the process. As a college student, business professional, a spouse and parent there are procedures that demands our undivided attention and commitment if we want to be successful. 

 

There are no shortcuts to success.

 

There are no shortcuts in getting players to buy into a system either. 

 

A coaching staff has to be relentless in their resolve in getting players to buy into the system, all the while creating enough individual and team confidence and success to continue the journey.

 

This is not an easy task.

 

Like a person trying to lose weight, there has to be enough visual improvement and success to encourage each individual to carry on and stay engaged in pursuing the next level of commitment and success. Once a person can see in the mirror the difference that is being made and identify with the positive results of their work it becomes a little easier to buy into what is being asked of them.

 

 

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The rewards for hard work are grand. (Kevin Vannatta & Corbin Dennis)

 

 

Visual signs that your efforts are making a difference can make all the difference in the world. 

 

In the end, you have to buy into the system, believe what your doing is worth doing, and come to love the process. There is no other way if you want to experience success on a high level.

 

You have to love the process.

 

 

Being Competitive

 

Competition is not the same as being competitive.

 

We all have the ability to participate in a competition — but that doesn’t make you competitive.

 

Webster defines the word competitive as “having a strong desire to compete or to succeed.” True competition doesn’t suffer fools very well, nor is it for the faint of heart.

 

Either you want to compete at a high level or you do not. There is no gray area.

 

 

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Danny Hummer

 

 

Being competitive is a mindset. It’s a determined decision to furiously pursue domination. The greatest example of Upper Arlington’s desire to compete was the team’s fierce pursuit of all loose balls. Show me a team that consistently dives on the floor for every loose ball and I will show a group of competitors that have bought into what their doing.

 

Being competitive is about not settling for anything less than your best. 

 

 

Mentally Tough

 

Being mentally tough can be difficult to explain at times, but is clearly evident when observed.

 

Personally, I didn’t learn the importance of being mentally tough until my freshman year at Wittenberg, and it wasn’t until my sophomore season that I fully understood and applied it. 

 

I was fortunate to have a coach like Larry Hunter and teammates like Tim Casey & Mike Elfers whom displayed mental toughness every day.

 

 

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Tim Casey: Wittenberg Hall of Fame/1985 NCAA Div. III Player of the Year.

 

 

When a player becomes mentally tough he or she moves from “surviving” to “thriving.” Fear and fatigue have the ability to make cowards of everyone, but once an individual learns to play through those two potentially devastating circumstances he or she is able to move into an arena where they can thrive, not just survive.   

 

It is impossible to buy into the process and be consistently competitive on a high level if you lack mental toughness. 

 

Attitude reflects leadership, and the Golden Bears, as well as Lakewood St. Edward modeled the mental toughness of their coaching staff, and in doing so they will be rewarded for a lifetime.

 

 

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Lakewood St. Edwards

 

 

Finally, not everyone is going to embrace the system and be happy with the process. Few will accept the challenge of being fully committed to the competitive nature that is needed to be successful and the mental toughness that is demanded in order to succeed.

 

The ones that do accept the challenge will become champions no matter the final score. True champions play through dissenting views and opinions. They compete when they don’t feel like it, and they reserve excuses for those outside the arena of competition.

 

President Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he delivered a speech entitled; “Citizenship In A Republic” at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on April 23, 1910:

 

The Man In The Arena

 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

 

 

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Finish Strong

 

 

Mike Singletary said it another way on October 27, 2008: “I want winners. I want people who want to win.”

 

The common denominator in all three of these pursuits is CHOICE. You have the choice to be engaged in the process, to be competitive and to become mentally tough. And, if you’re fortunate you will have someone in your life that understands these principles, and he or she will hold you accountable in your pursuit of them.

 

I would say both teams are fortunate.

 

None of these things are easily obtained, and why should they be? The reward is too grand to just give them away.

 

To compete in the state finals will always be a golden moment in the lives of the players, coaching staff and parents, a moment that will never be forgotten, and a memory that will continually provide joy, and dare I say — happiness.

 

In the end, maybe I did write about happiness.

 

Congratulations UA bears and Lakewood St. Edward, you should be happy. You guys are winners.

 

This is my Truth Be Told for March 25, 2014. (tbtt . #49)

 

 

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Happy (youtube) . Pharrell

 

iTunes / Spotify

 

 

 

. All images (except team photos) provided by BARBARA J. PERENIC | The Columbus Dispatch

 

 

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