I Don’t Care Whether You Play or Not

I was watching one of my favorite movies the other night, “Hoosiers.”  And I began to notice something that was interesting about one of the key players.

If you’ve never watched the movie, it’s about a small high school in Indiana that rises up and wins the State Championship.  It’s your classic David and Goliath story.

One of the players on the team, named Jimmy is dropped off the team because his old coach has died and he doesn’t want to play.  He’s grieving the death of his mentor.  But he’s an amazing player; one of the better players that anyone has ever seen.

The new coach, played by Gene Hackman, is warned to stay away from Jimmy but he knows that he needs Jimmy if he is to have any hope of a winning season.  So what does he do?

There is a scene in which the coach and Jimmy meet outside while Jimmy is shooting some hoops.  Up to this point it’s important to note that in all the scenes Jimmy has been in, shooting basket after basket on his own, he’s never missed. Not one time.  But as the coach speaks to Jimmy, he makes this shocking statement: “Jimmy, I don’t care whether you play basketball or not.”  That having been said, Jimmy misses his first shot.

I thought how interesting and how poignant that point is.  Often times we wait for someone to beg us to play.  We wait for an outside motivation.  And almost always, outside motivations are negative.

The coach knew that Jimmy needed to want to play badly himself; that the motivation had to come from within.  So here is my lesson for you today.  Whether it’s in a marriage, a business, any relationship, stop waiting for someone else to beg you to play. Be motivated enough to engage on your own.  You must have your own “want to.” And short of that, no one can make you be great just because you could be.

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