Call me crazy but I love sports. I loved playing them and I love watching them. I love watching my kids play and I love watching my teams play. I love sports weekends, sports seasons and even sports vacations. If you know me well, you know that this has been the best season of sports-watching of my life. My alma mater, Texas Tech, just played (and narrowly lost) the National Championship game in men’s basketball.
Since I have allowed myself to be immersed in the joy of this basketball season, I thought I’d share with you some of my takeaways from following the program. You may not realize that sports and spirituality actually intersect quite often. In the case of the Texas Tech 2019 men’s basketball team, they go hand in hand.
Here are 7 life lessons I’ve taken from Coach Chris Beard and this incredibly special Texas Tech basketball team:
1. It’s all about relationships. I’ve heard Coach Beard say this many times and I couldn’t agree more. If we focus on our relationships even more than our accomplishments or goals, we will always come out on top. It was clear to all that the Red Raiders prioritized their relationships and it’s a great reminder for us to do the same. This is the way to a full and meaningful life.
2. You have to have a vision. When Coach Beard was hired at Texas Tech, he immediately started talking about reaching a Final Four. A lot of people thought he was crazy, including some of his players. But within 3 years, his vision had come into fruition. Simply stated, you have to believe it to see it. This has me questioning what I’d like to bring into my own life. How about you? Can we have the courage to dream instead of keeping ourselves small?
3. Be present. During team gatherings, cell phones were banned so that Tech players and coaches could be present to connect with one another. I think we ALL could use the reminder to put our phones away. Where can you draw a clear boundary for yourself and your family? During family meals? During car rides? It’s worth the effort to carve more time to pay attention to the people in front of us.
4. Self-care is essential. I read a lot about the focus of self-care in the program. Players were expected to take care of their bodies, doing things like hydrating, eating well, receiving treatment from trainers and even eliminating unhealthy habits. Midway through the season, the Tech team put even more restrictions on their cell phone use, turning them in at 11pm during road trips so that they could minimize distractions and get more sleep. What a simple concept that we often forget! Are we fueling our bodies in the way that they need? Are we drinking water, eating well and getting enough sleep? Let’s remember the essentials!
5. Be yourself. During the NCAA tournament, Coach Beard kept reminding the team to “Be you.” He asked his players to remember where they came from and to continue to do what got them there. In my own life, I consistently remind myself to be authentic – to just be myself. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, to wish that we were different or even to try to be like someone else. But our only power is in being ourselves.
6. Enjoy the ride. During the Final Four, the team adopted the mantra “Smell the Roses.” This was to remind them to enjoy and appreciate every part of the experience. Although it can be tempting to get caught up in worrying and thinking about the future, we miss out on life if we’re not able to enjoy where we are. I’m going to add this mantra to my repertoire to help bring me back to the present moment!
7. Be thankful. Throughout the season, Coach Beard would have his players send messages of gratitude to people in their lives – often right before a practice. His theory was that if you’re feeling thankful, it’s much more difficult to have a bad practice or a bad day. You know how much I LOVE gratitude, so this one put me over the edge! How can we practice this idea in our own lives? Who can we thank today?
Writing this has me feeling overwhelmed with appreciation for this team, this coach and this journey.
I love that my whole family has been on this ride together and that we have so many special memories that will last a lifetime. I love that my husband and I have connected through sports – from our first date until now. I love the conversations that happen with strangers and with friends over sports. I love the raw emotions that are felt through playing and watching sports. I especially love the lessons we all can take from sports.
I feel so grateful for this Texas Tech basketball team and for sports in general for being such a source of entertainment, connection and joy in my life. Thank you! I hope this serves you in some way.
Love and light,