Everything I Need to Know, I Learned Through Sports

(This is being reposted from a 2020 New Year’s Message sent by Newsletter)

Dear Friends,

With 2020 upon us, I am reminded of the classic Robert Fulgham book “All I Really Need to Know, I learned in Kindergarten”.  Written in 1986, it would still be years until we were all joking about the fact that we were finally partying like it was 1999 – or the fears of Y2K were upon us (I believe I still have remnants of the adorable “survival kit” my mom prepared for me and my seven siblings, “just in case”).

As we search for New Years resolutions, we often start with things we are going to “stop” doing or create (often unrealistic) goals that don’t allow us to maintain focus or consistency – or if they get accomplished leave us with a feeling of “ok, now what”. In full transparency, I lost sleep over the following, because it was just before I fell asleep last night that the idea(s) for the following popped into my head – and as I often do, I had to get up to email myself the framework that was formulating (out of fear I would forget in the morning) and then I lay there thinking about the incredible amount of lessons I learned from playing sports. I had a lot of fun coming up with these, and struggled to get them down to ten – but alas, here is my list.

  1. Be Generous – Don’t hog the ball, and be sure to celebrate the assist as much as you do the goal.
  2. Be Consistent – Instead of focusing on winning, focus on process and doing the little things (trust that winning will be a likely byproduct if you do so).
  3. Be Honest – Remember that “the lines are not a suggestion” (for more on this – here’s a link to a prior piece on the topic)
  4. Be Kind – Run to help your teammates up if they get knocked down – and know that it’s more than OK to help your opponent up as well!
  5. Be Determined – Don’t try hard because someone is making you…try hard because you can. Effort is always a choice.
  6. Be Brave – Don’t be afraid to take risks. Dive for loose balls. Take a charge. Block for your teammates. Call timeouts. Try new positions. Try new sports.
  7. Be Calm – Don’t scream at people. Most times yelling is scary and doesn’t really accomplish much. And breathe! Breathing is never a bad thing!!
  8. Be Grateful– Thank your coaches. Thank your teammates. Thank your parents. And Thank the referees. Gratitude is a gift to others – and to you.
  9. Be Humble -If you score a goal or touchdown don’t ever celebrate like it’s the first time you’ve ever done that. 
  10. Be Joyful – Above all else remember that sports (life) should be fun! Play with Joy!

So – if you are struggling for New Year’s Resolutions – go ahead and take any/all of the above and apply it to your daily living. Don’t give up things – Do things! Be Better! Let’s face it – don’t you think the world would be a much better place if we were all a little more generous, consistent, honest, kind, determined, brave, calm, grateful, humble and joyful.  
I hope that some of these resonated with you. I always love to hear from folks who read these pieces so if there’s one in particular that stood out or you want to let me know you will be focusing on this year, please do. And if there’s another you think should be added to the list – please share!!
Kerry and I wish you blessings and all good things for the upcoming year – and for the “Roaring 20s” that are before us!
Happy New Year!!