The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is always a closely followed event in our house.  My husband and I both participate in a pool at work, our daughter and her husband fill out brackets and we often compare notes.  Our daughter recently moved back to the area, so this year we all took off Friday afternoon to watch the games at a local bar/restaurant.


So, here I am on Saturday afternoon and, yes, the games are on.  I just watched Saint Mary’s upset Villanova in today’s first game.  As much as those wins may upset the brackets, it is those stories that make the tourney so much fun!  The little guy making the plays, working as a team, running into a little luck along the way and upsetting the bigger, more powerful school.  Such joy shared as the buzzer signals the end of the game.

Right now, #13 Murray State is playing their second round game against #5 Butler.  We’ll see how that turns out, but this isn’t about winning or losing.

It’s about the life lessons that are often taught through sports.

Coaches find all kinds of ways to motivate their teams.  The pre-game locker room speech is probably the most well-known of the coach’s motivational tools.  I love what Murray State Coach Billy Kennedy just told his team.  After going over some whiteboarded plays and some key players on the opposing team, he reminded his men:

Power, love, sound judgment.  That’s what we’ve been talking about for the last two weeks.

Power: dominate physically.

Love: stick together, continue to love each other.

Sound judgment: poise in the situation.  Make good decisions. Execute the game plan.

Coach Kennedy did not say, “Go win.”  No need to add that pressure; the players all want to win.  The coach’s job is to help them achieve that goal.  After all the practices, all the drills, all the team meetings, Coach Kennedy settled on “power, love, sound judgment.”

Thos simple words go much farther than the basketball game at hand.  It’s a reminder of what leads to success in life, too.

Power: Physically dominating your opponent in basketball can make a huge difference, whether it’s your strength, speed or shooting skills.  In life, perhaps it’s your intellect, stamina or focus that helps you dominate.  Use your knowledge, skills and abilities relating to the task at hand to your fullest ability.

Love: In basketball, the team is key.  Teammates need to love each other, care for each other, help each other be successful.  Who is in your life team?  Your family, friends, co-workers all make up various teams working towards various goals.  Love them.  Stick together.  Cooperate.  Continue to support each other. 

Sound judgment:  The pace of a basketball game can be frenetic at times.  Maintaining poise is very important.  It’s the same in life.  Things may not always go according to plan, but we must maintain our poise.  We need to make good decisions.  We often create plans for our family, career development, retirement, etc.  The success of those plans often depends on how well thought out they are and then how well we execute them.

Power. Love, Sound judgment.

Good advice for basketball.  Good advice for life.

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