Friday, March 25, 2011

March Madness as a Laboratory

Every year at this time I have the same thought: March Madness is one of the greatest laboratories for human activities ever created.

If you are watching the games tonight and over the weekend try watching with a different “eye.”

Watch how different coaches motivate in different ways. You’ll see yellers, smoothers, coaxers, grabbers, explainers and teachers (the best ones).

You’ll see players who are true teammates or prima donnas. You’ll see some kids who step up and out of their skill levels and perform extraordinary feats. Others fold; giving up and simply playing out the clock (at this level you don’t see too many of those, but they are still there).

Think about it; you have adults making million+ salaries whose livelihoods are dependent on how a bunch of 17-22 year-olds perform.

It’s a wonderful pressure cooker in which people get to show who they really are.

As someone once said, “Stress is like a tube of toothpaste. When you squeeze it you find out what’s inside.”

March Madness is one of the greatest tubes of toothpaste ever (other than encounters that include guns!).

If you don’t have a favorite, pull for the North Carolina Tar Heels and watch two players. John Henson, a 6’ 10” sophomore forward who has a grin you won’t believe, is great. Coach Roy Williams describes him as, “A mischievous 11-year old in a 20-year old body.” Also, freshman Harrison Barnes, last year’s top recruit in the country, is a smart, articulate, extraordinary athlete with an assassin’s heart when he walks on a basketball court.

Enjoy the weekend, and Go Heels!

1 comment:

  1. Mike,

    Although I can't join you in rooting for UNC (it's a little like rooting for Microsoft to crush tech startups), you make an interesting point about coaches and their young players.

    I've always been interested in how the superstars of a business (basketball players, sales people) fare when they take the reigns of an organization--the best sales people don't necessarily make the best sales managers, just like the best basketball players don't make the best coaches. It's interesting to me that men like Roy Williams and Coach K can be wildly successful as coaches, even though they weren't great players. On the other hand, Magic Johnson and Elgin Baylor both failed as coaches/executives. Why is that?