Sunday, April 12, 2015

I Will Choose Happiness

Located in a rural town in Missouri was a general store.  This was THE place in this small town...everyone picked up their groceries and supplies at this general store, the farmers would start there day with a cup of coffee here each morning and of course if you wanted to visit with other members of the community this was the place to be.  One morning a couple stopped by the general store just to check things out and started up a conversation with the clerk.  The husband said "my wife and I are looking to relocate...we'll be moving in the next few months and are considering moving to this town."  The clerk was excited and continued to carry on a conversation with the couple.  The gentleman went on "but just out of curiosity, before we make a decision can you tell me about your town...what's it like, how are the people in this community?"  The clerk paused for a second and said "well first, tell me about the town you're moving from and the people that live there."  The gentleman started to get emotional and said "we love the town we live in and it's going to be very difficult for us to leave.  The people are so friendly, everyone you meet is very helpful and willing to lend a hand.  Some of the best people you'd ever want to meet live in that town."  The clerk grinned and said "well sir you're gonna find that this town is just like that.  If you choose to move here you'll find that the residents of this town are just as friendly and outgoing."

A week went by and another couple, from out of town, strolled into the local general store.  The couple walked up to the clerk to strike up a conversation.  "What can I do for you" said the clerk.  The gentleman spoke up saying "my wife and I are looking to relocate...we'll be moving within a few months and we're considering moving to your town.  We're curious if you could tell us a little bit about your town and the people that live here."  The clerk looked at them said "first off, how 'bout you tell me about the town that you're moving from."  The man shifted around and said "honestly we cannot wait to move...we're very unhappy...the residents of our current town are very unfriendly, they're always in your business and gossiping, they never want to lend a hand to help and as a whole we really dislike the people in our current town."  The clerk hesitated for a second and said "well sir unfortunately I have to be honest you're probably going to find out that the people in our town are the same way."

This short story illustrates that it's up to us to either find happiness or to not find happiness.  I've tried very hard over the years to try and surround myself with good people...people that work hard, are positive and try to find the good in situations.  College basketball can be a very stressful profession and any coach will tell you that the losses, the injuries, the team issues (on the court or off the court) can get you down if you're not able to move past them and focus on the positives.  Instead of letting the disappointments take over we have to quickly resolve them and move forward as opposed to dwelling on them.  We can't just pretend a loss didn't happen or an issue within a team didn't exist, we have to recognize it and then try to correct the problem so that we as a program can move forward.

 I've been very open in saying that this past season was one of the most successful in women's basketball history here at Arkansas State.  One of the really good qualities of this team was its' ability to move past disappointments and "negatives" quickly and to focus on the opportunities that were in front of them.  This team was faced with one of the most difficult schedules in the country.  A non-conference schedule against teams from the SEC, the Big 10, the Pac 12, the Big 12 and two Top 25 opponents in Chattanooga and Florida Gulf Coast.  We were dealt some difficult losses including a disappointing loss at Colorado followed by one of the hardest practices I have ever put a team through the very next morning (at 8:00am) instead of spending the morning sightseeing (and our players handled it perfectly.
Our conference schedule had its' own challenges as well as we played our first 10 games in 24 days.  One stretch included flying to Boone, NC for a contest at Appalachian State on a Thursday (suffering a loss in the last few seconds)...busing early the next morning to Charlotte only to have a flight delay...arriving back in Jonesboro on Friday later than our Saturday's opponent (Texas State).  But never once did I hear any of our players complain, they simply accepted it and proceeded to knock off a very good Texas State by 20 points.  They didn't take time to dwell on all the bad or the negatives that surrounded that trip...instead they focused on the positives and the opportunity that was ahead of them.

You hear the term "culture" used often whether it be in the work place or in my line of work, athletic programs.  I am proud of the "culture" that has been established in our program and it is one of finding the "good" and not focusing on the "bad".  A culture of not worrying about what other Women's Basketball programs have... appreciating what we have, because we have it really, really good.  And not worrying even within our own athletic program about other teams and what they might have or not have.  We've been able to create a culture that appreciates and understands how good we have it at Arkansas State and focusing our energy on the things that are really important.  We are human and are just like the two couples in the story we can either choose happiness and find that daily or we can choose to not be happy and find that daily as well.  Me and my program are going to continue to focus on the good and choose to be happy.  And I am going to continue to surround myself with people that can see the good and see happiness and not constantly find the bad and unhappiness in every situation.

1 comment:

  1. Never regret what once made u smile! Lifes too short! Great blog Coach b