So in light of the “new game” that is upon us I thought I would give a bit of a pre-game pep talk to get us ready. You see a coach always knows there are things to learn from and improve on. I love watching the reporters when they interview coaches after a big win; they always make a remark about how the coach is never satisfied, and they are right. We need to learn to be content but always should be striving to move forward.
There is a fine line between forgetting the last game and learning from it. We definitely don’t want to dwell in the past but instead use it to be better in the future. So a coach evaluates and shares with the team many different aspects:
· What we did right / how we can improve on it / will it work with the next opponent we face
· What we did wrong / how we can avoid it / will we face similar pressure from the next opponent
· Was the last game a complete effort
But the problem with preparing for a future opponent is that we don’t know the variables:
· Will they run the same offense / defense they normally do
· What players may be injured for them / or for us· How will the refs call the game
As a coach I have found that, although I like seeing us ahead on a scoreboard, I try not to coach to the scoreboard. What I mean by that is that I don’t determine our success by the scoreboard. Yes we pursue the win (which is the point of playing a game that keeps score); but we realize that the quality of the opponent can make the scoreboard an unreliable gauge.
So how does this coaching mumbo-jumbo relate to a devotion for the upcoming year?
First a simple truth… don’t make all your resolutions be about the scoreboard! If all you are concerned with is health, wealth, and happiness I warn you that there are many variables that you cannot control. (i.e. Injury, illness, market crashes, boneheaded decisions by others, etc.) I am not saying we shouldn’t strive for greater things, just that we should keep it in proper perspective.
For example, at the beginning of 2015 I found myself in horrible physical shape. It didn’t help that I was in FL (as I am now) visiting family and every time I went to the beach people were trying to rescue me by push me back out to sea… I decide that I needed to diet and get my weight under control! For half of “the game” I played “slow down” offense at meal time; the results were amazing as I was losing a ton of weight. Around “half-time” the pace of the game started to change as we hit the road for our summer ministry tour. The great things was that I could “speed up” even at meal time because I found myself able to run a little more and even amp up my time on the court a little bit. But then the unexpected happened and by the end of the “3rd quarter” found myself injured and unable to run / play; and unfortunately I failed to “slow down the offense” at the table as I had done early in “the game” and the result was truly an “offensive game.” I lost over 50 lbs. during the first 3 quarters of 2015, only to re-locate 20 of them in this last quarter… Therefore gotta tweak the “game plan” for 2016.
John Wooden realized as a coach that he couldn’t always account for the opponent so he typically didn’t even scout them. He decided that being the best they could be at what they do was enough; and that if another team happened to be better on the scoreboard one night, so be it! In fact he didn’t define success by things at the end of the season like wins, losses, or even championships; he defined it by the daily pursuit of being one’s best.
Here are a couple of maxims I use in training:
· When I look in the mirror at the end of the day what do I see - a tired but proud and victorious look that is a result of hard work and accomplishment - or the tired defeated look of a quitter?
· When I lie down at night what do I feel - the physical pain that is a result of hard work and accomplishment or the emotional pain of a quitter? (The first one goes away very quickly; the latter leads to a lifetime of regret!)
In 2016 I hope that you win each day! Do that by being prepared for whatever the “opponent” throws at you… how do you do that? Commit to daily resolutions not yearly resolutions:
· Daily time in the Word!
· Daily time in prayer!
· Daily time in serving others (physically and spiritually)
In fact, why wait until 2016? That would be wasting a few days… start today! You only have today to Go MAD (Make A Difference)!
James 4:13-17 (The Message) is very to the point on simply doing what is right in the now…
“And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, ‘Today – at the latest tomorrow – we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.’ You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, ‘If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.’ As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.”
Win the day! Make today a success! (And you will find at the end of the year you will have done great things!) Do what is right, right now!