Saturday, March 5, 2016

On hope, and four or five moments





"The game can kill you with hope."  - Kevin Baker

Well, they've done it. 

Yesterday, while battling to maintain a lead against the No. 3 ranked team in the state, the Okay Mustangs were suddenly up 20 points, and I'm still not entirely sure how it happened. 

I mean, yeah, 70 points from Caleb and Darius Riggs probably did it, but still. 

Remember yesterday when I said I wanted Goliath vs. Goliath? Well, I watched Fort Cobb's game with Seiling yesterday thinking that I was an idiot for writing it. 

But I'm not. The whole season has been leading up to this point. Two teams, both Mustangs, across the state from each other, and each doing the kind of work it takes to be successful in this glorious game of basketball. 

And now we're in the finals. School history has been made. We all got to see it. We all get to see it. 

This small group of boys from a town no one has ever heard of have given hope to thousands of people. 

hope

noun — the feeling that what is wanted can be had.

It's such a simple word. One syllable and four letters with an ocean in between each one, and a gold ball waiting just after the "e." 

You know, you're going to laugh, but I finally went to see Deadpool last night, and I think I can actually use part of a scene from that movie to teach something here. 

Colossus, a member of the X-Men, stops Deadpool from shooting someone by saying:

"Wade! Four or five moments."

"What?" 

"Four or five moments — That's all it takes to become a hero. Everyone thinks it's a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you're offered a choice to make a sacrifice, conquer a flaw, save a friend..." 

Now if you've seen the movie you know that quote immediately loses relevance not long after, but I think it maintains its relevance here today. 

Okay Mustangs, go be a hero today. Live in the four or five moments of this game where you'll make a choice, play harder than you thought you could, or sacrifice a shot for a better one. Live in the moments where you'll be a hero. 

Something I struggled with as a player and now as a coach is being told/telling kids to "leave it all on the floor." I understand the sentiment, but if you leave it all on the floor, where's "it" going to be for the next game?

Today, there is no next game. Today is the one day I agree with "leave it all on the floor." 

I'll be in the stands hoping. I'll be in the stands believing. Thousands of us will. 

In the moment of hope, there is no doubt. There is no room for doubt. So hope breeds confidence, and confidence breeds happiness. You've made the town of Okay and your families very happy. You've already accomplished something enormous that will never be forgotten.

Thank you for that. 

Now finish the job. 

"hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all." 
- Emily Dickinson