Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trying vs. Doing...MTXE

Trying vs. Doing…MTXE


Basketball season is my favorite season, and this time of year March Madness serves as the long awaited, electrifying crescendo to high school and college basketball players' and fans' seasons.
In the spirit of the season, I can't help reflecting on my glory days as a high school basketball player in eastern Kentucky.  I grew up in Carter County…and I played for the East Carter Raiders.  Fellow alumni from East Carter High School grew up with a slogan…a tag line…our own motto, if you will…MTXE.
Growing up falling in love with the game of basketball, looking up to my Dad, my coaches, and the Raiders that played before me…MTXE was always a concept that gave me hope, fired me up, and kept me believing in myself and others that anything is possible with a little mental toughness, and extra effort.
I remember when I was a sophomore in High School I was a starter on the Junior Varsity team, and I came off the bench for limited minutes in the 7pm Varsity game.  Once in a home game my sophomore year, Coach Charles Baker back pedaled down the sideline, reached for me and put me in the game.  Shortly thereafter I found myself in the throws of the game, with a million things happening at once.  A teammate knocked the ball away from the opposing team.  I was close to it, but didn’t run it down quite quick enough…the ball trickled out of bounds…last touched by the Raiders…the other team got the ball.
As luck would have it, this all took place directly in front of our own bench.  Coach Baker gave me a bit of a motivational speech (to put it mildly), and offered his…well…coaching.  He told me to “get after it…come up with those loose balls.”
I replied, “…I tried…” 
Bad move.
Coach quickly took advantage of a teachable/coachable moment and offered up his coaching again and said, “Trying won’t cut it…get the job done.”
From that moment on…in basketball and in life…I’ve always wanted to get the job done.
Some days are better than others.  Some things are easier to accomplish than others.  Sometimes the loose balls on the floor are easily scooped up…while other times we miss it.  We miss the ball, we miss our chance, we miss our opportunity.  But in life, just like in basketball…we can always get the ball back.  We can always get the job done…with a little MTXE – Mental Toughness Extra Effort.
Sometimes we’re all buttoned up, and we have a fundamental understand of everything that needs to get done…we’re mentally prepared…yet we lose steam halfway through a project, a semester, an event, an endeavor, or a career once adversity of some sort sets in.  That’s trying, at its finest.
Next time adversity sets in…and a million things are happening at once, think MTXE.
Dig in…get mentally tough.  You’re smart enough.  You and your team CAN do it.  Be the “thought leader” that goes OneMoreStep and rallies the team to pause, take a deep breath, and take a more cerebral approach…and…
Then go another step with the Extra Effort – the extra 5 minutes to teach someone something, extra emails to clarify something, extra time listening to somebody else’s concerns, or an extra hour or two of your own effort, staying devoted to your cause…
Are you trying or doing?  

Go OneMoreStep…think MTXE…Mental Toughness Extra Effort…and I promise that more often than not, you’ll get the job done.
One for the road…
16 years ago today…Leap Day, February 29th, 1996…
62nd District Tournament: East Carter Raiders vs. Lewis County Lions
Our team, the Raiders, had only won 7 games all year.  Lewis County was a better team, with great players, and the site of the game was on Lewis County’s home floor.  We were outmatched.  By all accounts, projections, and forecasts…the Raiders were going to lose the game.
The game went back and forth…nip and tuck throughout.  Long story, short…I hit a layup with time running down in regulation to force Overtime.  I was also lucky enough to hit a 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds on the clock at the end of the 1st Overtime…to ultimately tie the game, forcing a second Overtime.
We won that game 16 years ago; a double overtime game, on the opposing team’s home court…and a week prior everyone from players to fans to sports reporters to the custodial staff thought there would be no possible way that the East Carter Raiders could beat the Lewis County Lions.
I don’t state the above “stats” to brag about how awesome I am or was...although it was one shining moment…I highlight this game and experience because we won with Mental Toughness & Extra Effort.
Our coaches had a game plan…and they taught us, they coached us, they encouraged us, and they showed us what it means to be mentally tough.  They motivated and inspired us to put forth the EXTRA EFFORT, which allowed us to withstand a grueling game, not one but two overtimes…and in the end, we came out victorious.
Thanks Coach Baker, Coach “E”, Coach Calhoun, and Doc Bender for teaching me then and for inspiring me now, 16 years later…to live, breath, walk, and talk – MTXE.
Go Raiders…and good luck tonight in your Regional Tournament game vs. the Russell.

1 comment:

  1. It was One Shining Moment. A great day for you and for the Raiders... and a great memory to cherish.

    MTXE (while not thinking about it at the time) has pulled me out of some tough places. You've just gotta get your head on right. And as Coach (and Yoda) said, don't try... DO!

    Love you brother!