It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

food for thought

The end of the basketball season is barreling down on many of us, and that can bring a wide range of circumstances and emotions to bear.

In the best of times, your team has created an experience that will truly be missed when the season ends. The chemistry and relationships make coming to practice something to look forward to every day. While there may be pressure to survive and advance once the postseason begins, there is a sense of appreciation for being together and enjoying the experience for as long as possible.

In the worst of times, your players may be counting down the days to spring sports. Your team chemistry might be fracturing at the worst possible time. If expectations have gone unmet, parents may be at the gates looking for a scapegoat. Administrators may be asking questions that could preclude a new direction, and you might be experiencing anxiety with every email notification.

I have experienced both ends of the spectrum this time of year, and the best way to cope with a season you don't want to end, or a season that has gone off the rails, might be the same.

Be grateful.

When my job was under siege a couple years ago, my AD was inundated with player and parent complaints. I wasn't always privy to who was saying what, but the pressure was palpable. During that difficult time, I deliberately took a few moments before each game and practice to be thankful. I had an opportunity to coach in a great league, with a supportive staff, and enjoyed relationships with a handful of players who were still bought in. Despite the clouds surrounding my job, I made a conscious effort to guard the joy that these things brought to me. It wasn't easy, but it helped me appreciate the good in the midst of troubling circumstances.

In other years, when our team has grown close and nobody wants the season to end, there can be sadness that comes with saying goodbye to beloved seniors, or to knowing this might be your best chance to compete for a while. You realize the weather is getting warmer, and that this won't last forever. One of the harsh realities of sports is that once a season ends, it is unlikely that the team will ever be all together in the same place again after the banquet. As Bruce Arians so eloquently described it, "The finality of this game's a bitch." The prescription for handling these memorable teams might just be the same.

Be grateful.

Regardless of your circumstances, find the things that bring you the greatest joy, in the best of times and the worst of times, and make an effort to enjoy the moments while they're still there.

Food for thought.

Nate Sanderson, TOC Mentor and Co-Host of the Coaching Culture Podcast
[email protected] Twitter @CoachNSanderson

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