One of my first years coaching was for a high school girls basketball team. I was taking over a program at a school that hadn’t experienced a win in about six years! There were times they had to forfeit games just because they didn’t have enough players eligible or healthy to play. My principal told me before the season started, I wasn’t expected to win any games and that if I could make it through the whole season with a team, that would quite possibly be the only “victory” I might get.
The whole season was a learning process, both for the team and for me. I’d never experienced defeat to this extent before. Finally came our chance, we were 0-10 and facing another 0-10 team- surely we would have a chance. We lost something like 62-13, not even close.
I had been challenging my team all season to celebrate the little things. After that game a girl asked why, if we can’t celebrate the big things. It was an eye opening moment for her when I told her that it’s the little things in life (and in basketball) that make a difference for the big things to happen. I really challenged them. The little things pave the way for the big things.
I picked up this concept from a Christian leadership retreat I had attended a couple years prior in which we were challenged with the thought of being faithful with the little things. The speaker went on to explain that when we are faithful with the little things, God begins to bless us with bigger things. He begins to pour out His blessings more and entrust more to our care. Think of the parable of the talents, the two that were faithful and gained money, they were given the extra money. The one that hid it away and didn’t invest his money didn’t fair so well.
I explained to them that when we do the little things and celebrate them, we begin to understand them better, understand how they tie into the game as a whole and we can begin to see our improvement. I also mentioned that I felt records were overrated. More people will remember a team that’s 10-10 and makes a playoff runs, than the team that went 20-0 and loses unexpectedly early. Ironically that year, we had a team in our district that went 20-0, was one of the favorites to win the State Championships, and lost right after Districts. We also had a team that went 12-8 and nobody was talking about and went to the quarterfinals, which people still talk about years later. After we really embraced the concept, we finished the season going 2-7 over our last 9 games. Not great by any means but for a team program that hadn’t won in 6 years, we gladly took it. We celebrated little things in the game and finally got a win!
Be blessed. Be a blessing.