Feb. 11, 2010
Spacing and timing. Sonny and Cher. Batman and Robin. Some things just go together. By themselves they work, kind of. But when paired? Look out. That's when the magic happens. Beautiful basketball pivots on offensive spacing and timing. And it seems to me that life swings back and forth on the same two hinges. So every week or so we'll be examining both, or maybe just pondering about one or the other. And who knows what might happen with the right amount of space and enough time...
Oct. 16, 2009: The Write Space and Time
Oct. 26, 2009: The Vision Part
Nov. 13, 2009: Hot and Cold
Nov. 26, 2009: Basketball is Cumulative
Dec. 14, 2009: Groundhog Day
Dec. 17, 2009: The 2-For-1
Jan. 26, 2010: Number 300
Feb. 11, 2010: The Lesson
Even at Six Flags, as a kid, I wasn't real big on roller coasters. The up and down has always done something goofy to my stomach. I love going fast and turning tight corners and even backwards is ok. But the climb and the drop and the climb and the drop? I'm not much of a fan.
This past week our basketball team took a ride on the Kinda Ka. It was, literally, the best and worst of times.
On Wednesday we played on our home floor. We were lethargic. We were affected. We splintered into terrified little islands of frustration. And afterward we were all sorry and wished we had it to do over again.
Then on Saturday, we competed. We went into a hostile environment. We were intense and focused. We moved forward, undaunted, throughout the game. We glued ourselves together with effort and communication and thus became a whole that dwarfed our individual parts.
What a difference 48 hours can make. Now everybody wants to know the magic of the two days of practice we had in between. Sorry to disappoint, but there was none.
I've heard all my life, however, that when you lose, you shouldn't lose the lesson. Here's what I learned the day after the dip: players play best when they control the things they can and coaches coach best that way, too. I was awful on Wednesday versus Texas. I hated our lack of effort and I was dumbfounded by our lethargy. So I tried to make my guys play hard. And I almost lost my mind.
I couldn't control their effort any more than they could control the number of people in the arena or when the referee blew his whistle or the way the ball bounced when it hit the rim. Attempting to was like trying to push a string.
And it exhausted us all.
In team sports everybody has a job. The managers get the towels and the Gatorade ready. The trainers tape. The strength coach stretches. Shooters shoot, screeners screen and coaches coach. If even one of us gets too caught up in something that's none of our business chaos ensues.
Our basketball team is not unlike a lot of teams across the country. We are pretty good when we get after it and compete on every possession. We are pretty lousy when we don't. Only a tiny handful of teams are talented enough to have a different story.
So it's simple really. As long as each of us controls the things we can.