Are You In The Game
"Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to doalong the way and who will be sharing the adventure with them."
I was 13 or so, and on the school basketball team. I was never really very good, but living in a small rural community with limited amounts of kids, I was picked for the team anyway. We were having a hard year in the winning department, and our coach was doing all he could to make the team win. Every game would see us getting a motivational talk before, during and after. And win, lose or draw, he was always ready to point out what we did wrong so that we would not, hopefully, repeat the process.
I was getting immune to the talks from Coach Fullarton. Immune because no matter how good or bad we were playing, I never once saw even two minutes of floor time. I was a "Bench Jockey". I rooted and cheered, I got water for the playing team, I got the towels, but I just couldn't play. It seemed like I was being kept on the team to be a cheerleader. When we won, I didn't feel like I was a part of it, and when we lost, I didn't feel like "I" lost. It was the team who played the game, not me. Although I was suited up, and ready to play and I was in the gym and on the bench, I was not in the game.
Have you ever noticed that it is the people in the stands who supposedly know everything about the game? They give all kinds of advice, but you don't see them actually in the game. It is as if the game exists onlyfor them. Many will say that yes, the game does exist for the fans, for without the fans, where would the game be? I'd like to throw a wrench into that argument and say that, yes the fans are an important part of the game, but without the players, the game wouldn't exist either.
The parallel that I want to draw today is to the game of life. Many people are willing to give out advice to others when they have not even experienced how to live, or play, effectively themselves. I have discovered that nothing strengthens advice like experience, or playing skills. I'm not saying that all fans don't know how to "play" the game, most of them have a very good understanding of the game, and some of them are also players who are watching to learn new secrets and strategies. What I am saying is this: unless you are in the game, you are not in the game. You are just a spectator. I don't know how many times I've heard a sports fan say "we won", when they were talking about their chosen team as if they had a big part to play in the winning of it. The people that actually won, were the ones that played.
So, how de we play the game of life so that we win? First of all, we must go into each and every contest intent on playing! No one ever scored a goal sitting on the bench or sitting in the bleachers. We can cheer and shout and scream for all we're worth, but nothing can build confidence like the success of scoring! For many, scoring may be making a sale, it may be raising a successful family, it may be starting a business, it may even be facing defeat and learning from it, but whatever it is we must decide just what game we're in, learn how to play and then attack it head on.
Secondly, we need a coach. We need to find someone who has played the game well, and is interested in continuing that success through us. We need someone who believes in us. All the professional sports players who have risen to world championship level have all had coaches to inspire and push them to higher levels. A coach's job is to see potential in their players and then help them to realize it. Without a coach, Lance Armstrong wouldn't have won the Tour de France a fourth time or without a coach Tiger Woods wouldn't be the magician that he is on the golf course. Sure, they have natural talent, and that accounts for a lot of their successes, but it was their coaches that made them believe that they could succeed.
This week, let's decide how we want to play our game. Let's decide to be a player rather than a spectator. It takes more courage to play than to watch because every time we try, we are putting ourselves at risk of losing, but it is through playing that we learn how to handle the failures and earn a spot on the medal podium. I'm guessing that you will play to win!