Sunday, September 27, 2009

You Still Have to Play The Game

The fall season is typically the start of a busy period for me.

But my daughter's involvement on two teams this year should dramatically raise the busyness factor.

There's guranteed to be a ton of practices, lots of driving and a few overnight tournaments.

Not to mention my co-hosting responsibilities on The NBA Breakdown which will kick off the new season on October 25, 2009.

This should prove to be quite the year.

Her school team played in their first tournament (it was in town) this week.

They did well for a relatively new team and finished third.

Vanessa managed to get on the score sheet with a few baskets and some pretty solid defensive play.

Let's just say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.


As the two teams were getting ready for their first game, I was really impressed with her opponents.

They looked sharp in their slick red uniforms and ran some pretty crisp warm-up drills.

There was a lot of height on the team and it was obvious that many of the players were natural athletes.

They struck me as one of those teams that liked to push the ball as much as they could and signaled to me that there probably was going to be a lot of running up and down the floor.

Their marquee player was a centre who was at least 6 feet tall which is rather impressive for a girl in her early teens.

Not only did she look like a player but she seemed to quite comfortably embrace the role of team leader.

She got everyone organized during warm-up and did a good job of directing traffic as they were practicing a couple of their plays.

However, once the game started, my perception of what I thought became much clearer.

I was surprised at the fact that the team in red, despite having so many athletes played so poorly.

Many of the players didn't have the fundamentals of the game meaning they couldn't dribble!

The star centre was the worst offender with countless traveling calls against her.

Needless to say, the slick looking team in red lost the game.


One of the things that's always fascinated me about sports is that no matter how good things look on the outside, you still have to go out and play the game.

It makes no difference how tall the other team is, how organized their warm up drills are or how loud the team cheer is.

None of these directly contribute to the outcome of the game.

We sometimes get so caught up with the optics of things that we let our assumptions or perceptions become reality.

We do the same thing with leadership. We assume that because someone is in a leadership role that they "should" or "shouldn't" behave in a certain manner.

We want them to have all the answers, never make a mistake and always take our feelings into account when they decide on something.

The moment they fail to meet our expectations, we're shocked, appalled and are left asking how they became a leader in the first place.

I had a discussion with international leadership expert, Mark Sanborn on this very same topic and he said. "Unfortunately, we sometimes see people moved into leadership position who can't lead,"

The reality for a lot of managers/ supervisors is that they're "learning on the job".

They didn't necessarily land into the role because of the demonstrated good leadership skills. A number of leaders are anointed the position because of how they performed in an entirely different job.

The natural leaders or the quick learners will figure things out in no time whereas the others fall victim to our assumptions.


No matter how great we perceive a team or leader to be, they still have to perform at some at some point.

Resist the temptation of making decisions based on assumptions.

Wait until the final buzzer and evaluate at the end of the game.

Thanks for reading!

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