Big Dance, Big Lessons

If you're anything like me, you're always learning from sports - every game, no matter what sport, no matter what level - contains countless lessons. You just have to look for them.

But the NCAA Basketball Tournament is especially notable in this respect. With all the one-and-done games, the seasoned coaches, and the exceptional, young athletes, the lessons sports has to teach us come through more clearly and intensely in the Big Dance than they do anywhere else.

What can these thrilling NCAA games teach us about life and business?

In each game, we’ve seen great examples of simple but very meaningful lessons:

1. Never, ever give up. Did anyone think Michigan was going to beat Kansas like that, besides the Michigan players themselves? It didn’t matter – they believed, and they made it happen.

2. When you work or play with urgency and emotion, good things happen. Almost every game has been an example of this!

3. You can be intense - and have fun, too. See: Florida Gulf Coast University.

4. You can fight like wild dogs on the court and still show class and respect to your “opponent” once the “game” is over.

5. When you stick together and work hard for each other, good things happen.

6. The little things add up; in the end, they mean everything! (the rebounds, the loose balls, the free-throws, etc.)

7. Nothing beats pure hustle. (Are you diving for the loose balls at work?)

8. Being a great teammate is not just about your actions on the court. You have to spur on your teammates even when you’re not in “the game.”

9. You gotta have balls! Someone has to take the shot at the end of the game (or finally close a deal).

10. A big part of winning big is dreaming big.

11. As John Wooden used to say: A player who makes his team great is more valuable than a great player.

12. It seems like, year after year, the same coaches manage to advance deeper in the tournament. What do they know that the others don’t? (For one thing, they stay consistent; they don’t let one year’s early exit change their game plan for the next year.)

Do you strive to embody these teachings in your own life?

What other lessons do you learn watching the Big Dance?

I’d love to hear!


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