Friday, September 20, 2013

Leave It On The Field!

I know you’ve heard that expression before and quite probably, in any number of situations.

In my second year as a head coach, I recall one particular game where we were struggling.  Really, really struggling.  We had a couple of players injured and who either couldn’t play or who didn’t play much.  We had a couple of players who fouled out.  And, we had a couple players who were in foul trouble that I had to sit out until an opportune time when I needed them the most.  As I said, we really struggled.

To put this in perspective, we were a “run and gun” team.  We’re talking up and down the court nonstop from buzzer to buzzer.  The whole game.  Every game.  Coaches and their teams knew that when they came to play us, they’d be better off wearing track shoes rather than basketball shoes.

In this particular game, we were either tied or within a point or two the entire game.  We began the second overtime. One of my big guys, Ryan, was absolutely spent.  There was no gas left in his tank.  None.  In fact, he was playing on fumes for most of the fourth quarter and into the second overtime. 

At one point during the second OT, Ryan fell to his knees, somehow got back up on his feet, wobbled a bit, bent over at the waist and made eye contact with me.  Helpless, I looked back at him, shook my head and said, “Ryan, I have no one left.  You’re all I’ve got!  You’re it!”  That’s pretty close to the message I gave him.  I know Ryan didn’t want that message, but it was the only message I had for him.  My bag of tricks was as empty as was his gas tank.

Ryan looked at me.  He sighed.  He kept playing.  And by some miracle, we won.  He wasn’t the hero.  No last second shot by Ryan.  He just played and gave it all he had and then some.

Leave It On The Field!

Ryan is one example.  I’ve coached other kids who had much greater talent and ability than Ryan did.  Yet, they never put out the time, the energy, the effort that Ryan did.  Bugged the daylights out of me.  No amount of motivation or inspiration could move them to put forth the effort.

Sometimes we see that in life. 

Sometimes in the lives of the people around us.  Those who are near and dear, as well as those we are around and bump into every so often.  Sometimes in our own lives.  Sometimes in our jobs.  Sometimes in our relationships with others.  With their relationships with us.

Something is held back.  Withheld.  Sometimes a little.  Sometimes a lot.

We feel cheated.  We feel hurt.  Sometimes we cheat.  Sometimes we hurt.  We might wonder if it was something we did.  We might wonder if there was something we should have done, something we should have said. 

Most of the time, however, it’s just as simple as not Leaving It On The Field.

I wonder if there are areas in my own life where I need to check, to look at closely.  I wonder if there are places and times where I take it too easy, don’t put forth the effort.  Times when I say, “It’s good enough!”  when it really isn’t.  There are times when I wonder if I Leave It On The Field – of life, of love.  Sometimes I wonder.   Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe