Monday, June 29, 2015

The Little Things Add Up

 Another "found money" year has come to a close.  That's right, "found money".  This year's total (from July 1st to June 30th) comes out to $7.49.  I have found a grand total of $7.49 laying on the ground in various places this year.  This may not seem like much to you, but I see things differently.  To me that $7.49 is a big deal because I was brought up to not take for granted the little things...because if you take care of the little things, those little things can turn into something big.

Ok so here's the whole story.   While, it may not appear so, I am an avid runner.  I enjoy running, or even walking, and try to log several miles every
week.  I used to be amazed at how often while running I would see a penny on the ground or a nickel and maybe even the occasional quarter.  So 16 years ago (the same year that I became head coach here at Arkansas State) I decided I was going to pick up every coin I saw on the ground and keep it in a container and see just how much change I could find laying around in one year.  From July 1st, 1999 to June 30th 2000 I "stumbled" upon a total of $55.17.  So, that process has stuck with me. 

Each year I keep a running total of how much change I find while running, getting out of my car while looking down, on the floor in an airport, etc.  I never pass up a coin if I see one and yes I have even fished a penny out of a urinal...hey, that's what they have soap for.  The totals have ranged from the $55.17 during the 99-00 year, to as low as $7.25 in 2001-02.  Now each year, on June 30th, I calculate how much loose change I have found and then deposit it into a savings account which is strictly made up this found money.  After depositing this year's $7.49 I have now found a total of $363.46 just laying around on the ground.  The pennies, nickels and dimes that aren't important to most people I have made important to me.  I'm fairly confident that nobody would just leave $363.46 laying around on the ground, but it's the little things that seem meaningless to others that have added up to something important to me.

Growing up I was surrounded by people that understood the concept of hard work and that nothing in life is just given to you.  My parents are two of the hardest working people I know and they taught us kids the idea of hard work and earning everything we had.  While I know I frustrated them at times with my griping and complaining the message stuck with me.  Growing up in Church the message of being responsible and appreciating the little things was preached in Luke 16:10 "He that is faithful in very little is faithful also in much; and he that is unrighteous in a very little is also unrighteous also in much."  My high school basketball coaches, Tom Shalley and Dave Shalley enforced the idea of hard work and doing the little things.  When I started volunteering at Missouri Western under the men's basketball coach Tom Smith nearly daily I would hear him tell the players "nothing good in life worth having comes without hard work."  This list could go on and on because I have always been around hard working people that appreciated the little things in life.

This weekend our entire team will be arriving on campus to start their team summer workouts.  Come January, February and most importantly March our team will be hoping to accomplish big things.  Coming off two seasons in which we've combined to win 46 games I have no question that this year's group will be looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead this season.  But none of that matters if we don't take care of the "little" things now.  And just like that loose change that I find laying around all the time, some people don't value it.  There will be some coaches and players that won't value the little things that need to be done this summer in order to be successful during the season.  Everyone wants to do big things during the season but those that want to do big things in the off-season are the ones that will be successful in the end.  It is my job as a head coach to once again instill the idea of taking pride in the little things again this year.  Nothing will be handed to this team next season, we're going to have value the little things that it takes to be successful...and that starts this weekend.

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