Sunday, November 10, 2013

Loose Change

On Friday, November 1st I could hardly control my excitement when I arrived home to find the envelope I had been waiting for in my mailbox.  It was finally here . . . this year's Christmas Club check.  And it wasn't so much that the check had arrived, it was more about the anticipation of seeing how much interest I had accumulated throughout the year.  Drum roll please . . . $1.53.  Yes, I had accumulated a grand total of $1.53.

Now I know you're thinking really, $1.53 and you're excited about that.  Well it's not about the $1.53 it's more about how the amount came about. 

I have always had a habit of picking up "loose change".  Anytime I see a penny (or any other coin) on the ground I will always pick it up.  There's a good chance I will have neck problems some day because whenever I am outdoors running or walking I am always looking down and scanning the ground.   So on July 1, 1999 I decided to collect all the money that I picked up and keep it separate.  I was curious to see how much money I could find just laying around on the ground in a year's time.  From July 1, 1999 - June 30, 2000 I picked up $55.17 worth of change that had been discarded by other people.  Change that was not valuable to other people became important to me.  Since that time I have played this little game every year.  By 2011 I had finally collected enough found money to open up a savings account (Christmas Club).  I have keep my yearly findings separate and then on the 1st of July I deposit it in my ongoing savings account.  The grand total of money that I have found just laying around is now up to $341. 80 (over a 14 year period) including the interest of $1.53 that I received this year.  Think about it for a second, sure it's only $1.53, but I am drawing interest on "loose change" that I have found laying around.  This total consists of $29.96 that was found last year, it includes $30.41 that was picked up during 2007-2008, it includes an even $29 that was found during 2006-2007 and it also includes the lowest total ever found which was only $7.25 during the 2001-2002 "fiscal" year (and yes the term fiscal is said with a chuckle).

While finding "loose change" has become a game with me there is also a hidden message too.  The idea that I have found value in the little things that aren't important to others.  A penny here or a penny there to some people is meaningless.  But how many people wouldn't want to be handed $341.80. 

Tomorrow night we tip-off another basketball season here at Arkansas State.  I have used this analogy with teams in the past but the equivalent of "loose change" in basketball is diving for a loose ball, taking a charge, boxing out even if it allows a teammate to collect a rebound, deflecting a pass, sacrificing your body to save a ball inbounds . . . in other words those hustle plays that other players don't find value in.  These are the plays that don't require talent they just require desire . . . and they also required the belief that there is value in these plays that won't show up on a stat sheet.  Players that find value in these plays are special and teams that find value in these plays will be successful.  Hopefully the 2013-2024 Red Wolves will be a team that finds value in picking up "loose change".

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