Bridging Leadership Lessons from the Workplace and Those Experiences Shaping Today's Youth and Tomorrow's Leaders
The morning after I submitted the article, It’s Many One Moments Not a Singular Moment, for our company newsletter I was reviewing social media posts when a video showed up on my feed. It was the final seconds of a Class 1 State Championship high school basketball game in Indiana. The game had gone to double overtime and there was no time on the clock. A player from Lafayette Central Catholic stands at the line, alone, ready to shoot 3 free throws. They trail North Daviess 48-45.
With all of the players from both teams standing at half-court, this player stands there alone, lost in his thoughts. From what I read he was their top scorer and is a major reason the team made it to the championship game. He nails the first free throw. It’s now 48-46 with two free throws remaining. In the video clip, the announcer states “if he misses, game over.” The player goes through his routine, bends his knees, takes a breath, releases his shot… it comes up short. The ref blows his whistle signaling the end of the game, no reason to shoot the 3rd free throw since there is no time on the clock.
It took a few seconds before the North Daviess team begins to celebrate. You could tell they were trying to process whether there would be another free throw attempt and the coaches are trying to keep kids from entering the court in case it may result in a technical foul. But soon the celebration begins. In the video clip, you can see the Lafayette player standing there, alone, staring into space, once again, lost in his thoughts. His teammates seem unsure what to do and how to approach him and how to add comfort. As the video pans between the dichotomy of the situation - to borrow the old ABC Wide World of Sports theme - the Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat, it catches the Lafayette Coach embracing the player as the player buries his head into the coach’s shoulder seeking comfort.
From the video clip, the embrace does not seem nearly long enough from my perspective and the coach moves on to congratulate the other team which once again, leaves the player alone. In the post-game press conference, the opposing coach states sympathetically, “You never want to see a game end like this.” The player who missed the free throws acknowledged that free throw shooting has been a struggle all season long for him.
I quickly realized that it was 5:30am and after watching these videos, searching for other angles, and gathering background, I was already emotionally drained. Other videos seem to show that the player was indeed alone in his thoughts. But as I wrote before, it is NOT this moment that defines the game, the season, or the players. Ironically, Lafayette Central Catholic advanced to the State Championship game when a last second 3 point shot to tie the game in overtime was off the mark. That bucket falls and maybe the missed free throw in the championship game doesn't happen.
My heart goes out to that young man. I purposefully didn’t put his name in this post as I don’t want to add to his emotions. But I do want him to remind him that the single moment is just that - a single moment among many. In regard to the game. To the playoffs. To the season. Most importantly, a single moment in life. Yes, it hurts, that is undeniable. Anytime you put passion, effort, and emotions into a task, and it doesn't deliver the result you expect there is a level of disappointment. There are 31.5 million seconds in a year. Think about the seconds over a lifetime of moments! Amazing things will continue to happen in those moments. Pain and hurt will definitely take up many of those moments. But those free throws, that single moment is not the story of that young man’s life. In his book, that will barely be a footnote, it’s only a single moment of so many more moments that he will live Beyond Today.
Tom Brown - a husband and a father who is simply trying to make a difference. Using my experience as a Manufacturing Executive to connect leadership from the boardroom to the hardwood to help teams grow and develop to make a difference in the lives of others.