On sports & personality

Back in college i would often talk about how the true
personality came out while playing basketball. I really think there are a lot
of life lessons that can be learned from sports (Esp team sports),  i see a lot in basketball and a lot in
ultimate Frisbee.


The other day as i watched our team beat the campus across
town, i did notice a lot in the way people played the game.


  1. There
    were a couple players who always forced a throw, and wound up making a bad
    throw, leading to a turnover
    Sometimes they saw someone deep, and they would try to make a long throw.
    Sometimes they were being guarded really close and made a quick throw.
    In either case, i could see the throw was ill-advised, and the throw was


Here’s what it showed me: The
person was trying to hard, and was impatient.
In most cases, an open player can be found.
Our team excelled when we threw backwards to an open person. It may have seemed
counter-productive to throw backwards, but it resulted in better gains.


In life, we can’t force things to
happen. We want results. Often we want results right away, or we want big
results, or we only look at the immediate gain versus the big-picture and a
long-term perspective.


Most football fans like a game to
be fast-paced, but the best coaches (the ones with the best records) tend to
have a ball-control offense and play for field position. We need to be not so
concerned with results, but be wise.

  1. i see
    this one in basketball all the time too. Someone drops a pass.. and they
    stand there and mope about it…. Instead of going back on defense.

A dropped pass is not a problem. It happens all the time. We make mistakes all
the time. And sometimes it is hard. If it is a catch you should have made or
not doesn’t matter.

When it becomes a problem is when the
person stand there, shakes their head, gets angry at themselves or their
teammate- and then lets the person they should be playing defense against go


A good player shakes off mistakes
and keeps playing. A good player drops the Frisbee, but then is playing tight
defense. A good player misses the shot, but then goes back on defense and
causes a turnover.


In life, we can’t let our mistakes
keep us from moving forward. We need to bounce back from failures. We need to
be ready keep going. We can’t let a set-back get us down. Or we’ll be set back

Mistakes happen. We can accept them
as mistakes, the bigger mistake is to let a small mistake become a big problem.


  1. Leadership
    is showed thru encouragement and building teamwork

The player you want on your team is
the one who helps you win the game. Not necessarily the one who puts up big
numbers and not necessarily the most talented.

But a player who can help his
teammates perform/achieve their best is the best player to have on the team.

Results are maximized as teams work
together, encourage one another

A friend of mine talked about how in Asia they don’t box out when playing basketball. But this is indicative of their culture. They don’t plan ahead. They react. Thus, the thought of boxing out for a rebound never enters their mind.

And in talking about baseball (or basketball) the players with big numbers get all the attention, especially offensive numbers. But there is no measure on defense and hustle. Ok there are errors and fielding %.  But that doesn’t tell you how many grounders they get to that another player doesn’t. That doesn’t tell you how much ground they cover in the outfield. In basketball there are blocks & steals, but that doesn’t tell you about team defense, rotation, putting your arms up to cause bad shots, and helping out your teammates.
Good defense makes a pitcher a good pitcher.
But that is all about a team focus vs an individual focus.
i think our over-emphasis on individual results over team results (most of the time) shows how we tend to value the individual over the team.

Next time you play a sport or a game, think about what it tells you about yourself or the people around you.


2 thoughts on “On sports & personality

  1. interesting post! i agree that this “individual focus” rather than a focus on playing as a collective body is one of the biggest problems in sports today- especially in basketball- whether college or pro… and one of the reasons i still like baseball the best… there are clearly defined positions that must work together in specific ways for the game to be played at all, and much less be played exceptionally! (not that baseball players don’t struggle with the same pride and selfishness that other athletes do, but i think the game itself changes how that might be brought out on the field.) but the bottom line is, at any rate, we’re wrestling with our sin natures and we need to renounce ourselves and cling to jesus as we “play” just as we do anything else!now that i think about it, i never was an MVP, but always got the “Coach’s Award” which i interpreted to mean, “she isn’t the most talented player on the team, but she hustles and works hard and is a team player”… and though i didn’t fully appreciate those awards at the time, i can now.

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