13 December 2012


As a basketball coach, I have a slightly different perspective on the game than many other coaches.  Mostly what I hear when I listen to people talk about basketball is just how competitive a sport it is, just how important the competition is.  There are five players out there going all out against five other players, and it's important to rise up to the level of competition.

Personally, though, I see basketball as a sport that's based on co-operation.  I see the game as five players working together to try to score and to try to stop the other team from scoring.  And yes, that does imply a certain level of competition, but to me the fact remains that unless those five players cooperate together well, nothing about competition really matters at all.  If there's no cooperation, a team simply will do poorly all the time.

Cooperation is probably one of the most important concepts that members of the human race can embrace and celebrate.  When we work together to achieve goals and to try to accomplish things, then there really are no barriers to what human beings can accomplish.  That's one of the reasons why it's so incredibly sad to me to see what political parties are trying to do to us--trying to fragment us and tear us apart, focusing on our differences rather than on our similarities, all in the hopes of gaining a few votes come election time.

How can you cooperate with other human beings today to accomplish something truly important?  What can you do today with someone else that will leave a mark, no matter how small that mark may be?  What can you and someone else give to the world that will make the world a better place?  We're limited only by our own thinking, by our own judgments and personal prejudices.  I would love to be remembered someday as someone who put cooperation above all else, someone who taught others the value of working together with other human beings to accomplish truly important goals.  Just as I hope my basketball team reaches success through cooperation, I hope that I myself can find some small successes by cooperating with other people to make life better for someone, somewhere.

07 December 2012

What Do I Stand for?

I believe that it’s true that we have to decide over and over just what we stand for in life.  I believe we have to decide constantly because what we think, what we believe, and what we feel changes as we grow older and learn more about life and more about ourselves.  It seems to me as I meet and get to know more older people, I learn how important it is to trust ourselves, to trust our hearts, and to trust our intuition.  And these parts of ourselves can help us to learn just what we stand for in life.

Do we stand for honesty?  Integrity?  Fairness?  Kindness?  All of the above?  None of the above?  We all have certain areas that affect us more strongly than others, certain topics that make us feel more strongly, that arouse our passions, much more than other areas do.  When we learn to recognize what they are and to trust our feelings about them, then we can start to learn what we stand for in life.

It’s hard to conceive of someone standing for the same things at 80 as he or she stood for at 20.  I know that in my life, my thoughts and ideas and passions have changed considerably over the last few decades.  There are certain things that I considered to be extremely important years ago that no longer feel so urgent to me, and other things that are much more pressing.  For example, the tendency to encourage other people was very weak in me when I was younger because I didn’t think that anyone would be affected by my encouragement back then.  Now, though, I realize that it’s important to encourage others because I have no idea at all what will affect them and what won’t.  And there’s a good chance, I’ve learned, that my encouragement will be not only heard, but helpful.

Many people prefer not to stand for anything, choosing instead to allow life to go on without thinking about their own contribution to it all.  And because they never really consider the contributions that they’re making–or could be making–they often end up not contributing at all.  Taking, probably, but contributing, no.

I hope that when the end of my life here on this planet rolls around, I can look back and say that I really stood for something, that I tried to teach others about something very important.  And it won’t matter if what I stood for at 20 was the same as what I stood for in my 60’s–as long as I’ve examined my heart and my conscience and trusted what they had to tell me about where I should stand and what I should do.