Each season as we begin tournament play, we have a team meeting designated to something we call ‘tournament lent’. Lent is the religious observance of the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert prior to beginning his public ministry. Lent represents discipline and sacrifice.
Our tournament lent discussion centers on one question: what are you willing to give up for the team? It’s a central question we all must ask ourselves. The degree to which we are willing to sacrifice determines our commitment level to anything. Spoken, or unspoken, everyone within our team knows what they are, and are not, willing to sacrifice.
In anything we do, we are always limited by one thing: what we are willing to sacrifice. It’s not what we want, not what we dream about, and not even what we work for that we accomplish. It’s always a matter of what we are willing to give up.
Sometimes it’s our time. Sometimes it’s our money. Sometimes it’s our ego.
But, rest assured nothing is free. Nothing.
Why Should We Care?
What our players are willing to give up is always telling to the commitment level of the group. This year, one of our seniors went first and gave up his cell phone for the time we are in the tournament which could be up to a month. He cited all the time he wastes on his phone scrolling and how distracting that is. He talked about his desire to be more present with his teammates and how much he cherishes the time they have remaining together. He wants to use his newly claimed time to watch more film, prepare for games, and interact with his family and team.
Clearly, his commitment is strong.
The level of this commitment does not go unnoticed by teammates. Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly communicating our commitment to the team through the sacrifices we are willing to make. This is precisely why tardiness or absences are so damaging to a team. It’s not because of the lack of attendance, it’s the message that what we are doing isn’t really that important. I’m not willing to sacrifice my time for our time.
As much as this applies to our teams, it’s just as applicable to us as individuals. We make commitments to ourselves all the time that we break. Each time we compromise our word to ourselves we are selling our own stock.
The sacrifices we choose to make in our lives are clear indications of our priorities. They are much more telling than what we dream of or even say. Each day we make choices in which we are prioritizing one thing over another. We think we are choosing what we want, but it’s more accurate to think of it as choosing what we are willing to do without.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
The idea behind tournament lent is to allow our guys to re-evaluate their commitment to our season then pledge to sacrifice something they enjoy to symbolize their commitment. It’s not perfect, but it does provide several opportunities to better understand the connection between what we want and what we are willing to sacrifice. Here are a few things we try to address each season.
Tournament lent is our way of highlighting the connection between what we want and what we are willing to sacrifice for. The reality is that we don’t get what we want. We get what we are willing to sacrifice for - nothing more and nothing less.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.