Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Traveling Carnival

Just recently the fair was in Jonesboro . . . the Northeast Arkansas District Fair.  While I didn't get to attend this year I know it was a big time for a lot of people, as it is every year.  I've always found it interesting that fairs have seemed to stand the test of time.  Fairs or traveling carnivals' roots actually go back to the 19th century similar to the circus.  It is said that the 1893 Chicago World's Fair was the catalyst for the traveling carnivals. Even in 2013, County and State Fairs are more popular than ever.

Here is what is so cool, to me, about a carnival.  Just the other day while I was driving to a recruiting visit a traveling carnival passed me while going the other direction.  A convoy moving to their next destination.  And as they passed I couldn't help but to try and guess what the folded up ride might become once it was put back together.  I also couldn't help but to think that there was no way in the world that I would get on one of those things . . . it is not possible for something to be folded up and traveling down the highway one day and then a carnival ride the next.  Be honest, you know you've thought the same thing too right?  So how can this convoy of 40 - 50 campers, trucks and folded up rides turn into this magical entertainment venue, overnight, for thousands of people one location after another.

Fifteen years ago when I became a Head Coach for the first time I needed to establish a core coaching philosophy.  What is my purpose as a basketball coach.  The first idea that came to mind and one that has stuck with me is the idea of "Bringing Together A Wide Range Of Individuals To Work Towards A Common Goal".  I love this idea and it is the one core piece of my philosophy that motivates me each and every day.  Bringing together 15 individuals from all different walks of life and working daily to get them all on the same page is such a thrill.  When you look at our team, we have athletes from five different states, some from small towns and others from big cities.  We have players of different race, different religions, different socio-economic backgrounds, different personalities and different long-term dreams.  And while it is a thrill it is also very, very difficult.  This, in the end, will be the deciding factor in which teams win Championships and which teams' seasons end in disappointment.  There are talented teams all across the country, every year, that don't reach their full potential because they were unable to pull together for the common goal.

So as our team starts practice tomorrow, we can take a lesson form the traveling carnival.  Week after week they travel from town to town and are somehow able to pull all these individual pieces together to accomplish the goal of providing entertainment and lasting memories for so many people.  I am convinced that we have a very talented group of individuals and I am also convinced that we have a team full of very good people.  The question will be can we all put aside our individual desires and goals so that we can focus only on the collective goals. Can we pull together all of our individual pieces to accomplish something special as a team.

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