It’s the greatest time of year for college basketball fans – March Madness! A time where we get to watch 18 to 21 year-olds be a part of history, create memories that will turn into stories for their grand kids and fight for that one shinning moment … the moment on the ladder, cutting down the nylon, hosting up the championship trophy.
For nearly two decades, these men and women have trained to get to this stage. Only two percent of them will make it to the professional level, while the rest will hang on to these memories as the grand finale of their basketball careers. As a former college athlete, I can verify that these days, the college days, stay with you forever. Preseason training, two-a-days, weights and conditioning, extra conditioning, max-out sessions, grueling practices, conference tournaments and training room recovery sessions – what goes on during those four years while wearing that University jersey is what I remember most 10 years later.
Friday afternoon I took a back route home in order to stop by a local nursery to pick up some vegetables for our garden. As I drove past the subdivision I grew up in, I spotted an old ice house. It was the ice house that my dad would make my sister and I run to for summer-time conditioning. I couldn’t help but think of the old adage for this time of year … survive and advance. Those runs were held in the heat of Texas summers. They weren’t easy, nor enjoyable, especially for someone who was not a fan of long distance running.
Here I am, 10 years later, married with three kids and I find survive and advance is equally as relative as my days on the hardwood floor. Whether it’s getting through nine interviews in one week for two positions – yes, that just happened – or juggling the needs of three kids ages five and under every weekend, it’s all about surviving the day, advancing through the phase. Sports taught me how to remain disciplined in adulthood and that everything – every stage, every temper tantrum, every big project, every holiday – is temporary, and seconds later, merely a memory.
My dad wasn’t just training us for cross country, volleyball, basketball and track during those middle school days, he was training us for life. Sometimes, you have to do things you don’t like to do, and often times those things are character-shaping activities. So whether you are working through shaping healthy appetites in toddlers or pushing yourself to run that last mile as you train for a marathon, just remember if your can survive the phase, you’re advancing to the next stage.