Once you really think about it you come to realize that sport, just like business, is a transaction…
Sports are supposed to be fun. Here are some often-heard lines:
- You gotta have fun.
- Just go out there and have fun.
- It’s just not fun anymore.
If it’s supposed to be so much fun, why isn’t everyone laughing? There’s an awful lot of talk about fun among athletes and coaches, but what is fun? Mean Joe Greene, the Hall of Fame lineman of the four-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, said that coach Chuck Noll always told the team before a game to “Just go out there and have fun.” The problem, said Greene, was that Noll’s idea of fun was to hit heads against brick walls for three hours in the hot sun.
Obviously, with that definition of fun, a coach can easily say that he just wants his team to go out there and have fun. But what do coaches really mean when they say that? Mostly, they mean they want you to enjoy the fruits of your training efforts. There is certainly no fun in fumbling and dropping passes and missing tackles. There is nothing even remotely lighthearted about the “fun” of playing a sport poorly, in a way that entirely fails to reflect the hours of practice you have spent developing your skills.
The fun consists in showing off what you have trained hard to do. But things become very “un-fun” when the training doesn’t show. The experience, instead, feels more like time wasting or stupidity.
When athletes say “It’s just not fun anymore” they mean that they are failing, either individually or as a team (or both), to produce results commensurate with their training efforts. To have fun in sports, your training and your efforts and your diligence and your striving must show up in the performance of the skills for which you trained. If your performance does not reflect your training, don’t expect any fun.
Once you really think about it you come to realize that sport, just like business, is a transaction. What you put in must be reflected in what comes out. Businesses themselves are tremendous fun for people who see their investments blossom into fortunes, but for those who work hard and end up with nothing, it’s not fun. The same is precisely true of sport.
So, just go out there and have fun. You gotta have fun in sports. Sports ought to be fun. No joke. But keep it all in perspective. You’re not supposed to be laughing to have fun. But you are supposed to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labors. So, work hard. Practice diligently. Overcome obstacles. Improve. Then—and only then—will the real fun of sports begin.
—Excerpted from the book, “Think Like A Champion.”
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