In a recent Sports Illustrated article titled “Pete Carroll, NFL’s Eternal Optimist, is Ready to Turn Heartbreak into Triumph”, the beleaguered coach of the Seattle Seahawks discusses how he dealt with his team’s crippling, final-seconds loss to the New England Patriots in last season’s Superbowl. Says Carroll, “[I] grieved for…
As long as I can remember, my dad was committed to writing a novel and getting it published. A journalist by day, Dad would come home and eat dinner with the family, linger to chat about the day’s affairs, and then retreat to his den to write his books. During…
By Gordon Grant (guest writer) “Last month I spent a week motorcycling back-country roads in Oregon, California and Washington. Unfortunately one of my friends had an accident that broke a few parts on both the bike and the rider. The trip was over for them. The morning after the accident,…
The Tiger Within A pregnant tiger stumbles through the woods, desperately seeking its next meal. With her unborn cub weighing her down, the tiger mama is nearing the end of her rope. If she doesn’t find something to eat soon, she’ll most certainly die. Crawling out to edge of a…
I’ve heard it said that relationships give us a mirror to see ourselves, and boy was that true for me last week at my regular Sunday drop-in volleyball group in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Here’s what happened.
If you travel as much as I do, you know that airports can be pretty boring places—especially when you have a long lay-over. After all, how many frozen yogurts can you consume? (Okay, in my case, quite a few!) So there I was in Orlando International airport last week, killing time between flights, and my path led me into a book store.
Some years back while teaching English in Japan, I found myself speeding along on a bullet train down to Nagasaki to visit a friend whom, I’ll admit, I had a bit of a crush on. While there, my friend introduced me to one of her buddies: a successful, local architect who shared with me an intriguing tenet of his design philosophy: “Always include something inconvenient.” It didn’t take long for me to understand what he was talking about.
I played a lot of sports in my school days – football, basketball and tennis, mostly — and at least once a season, like clockwork, one of my coaches could be relied upon to get up on his soapbox and declare, “There is no ‘I’ in team!” Know-it-alls that we were, my buddies and I would just roll our eyes, thinking, “We get it, already. We’re not dummies! There’s no room for a prima donna in team sports.”
At nearly six-feet tall, 6th grader Jim has always excelled at basketball. Half way through his final season at Meadows Elementary School , however, Jim accidentally steps on another player’s foot and breaks his ankle. The doctor informs Jim that he’ll need to wear a cast for the next 6 weeks, but not to worry. His ankle will be right as rain by the time the big final game rolls around, the one in which all the high school scouts will be in attendance. As the weeks progress, however, Jim ruefully mulls over his prospects. You see, adults have always told him that he has star potential, that the sky’s the limit for a big, coordinated kid like him. But Jim doesn’t see it that way. His internal voice – his “gremlin” — is telling him, “You’re not good enough, Jimbo . You’re slow. You can’t jump. Your shot is flawed. Oh, sure, you’re a big fish here in elementary school, where no one is taller than 5’9”, but in junior and senior high, you’ll be competing against players your own height, or taller. Real athletes, too! Playing against that competition, you’re bound to fail. And what about your family? The only time your parents stop fighting is when they’re in the stands, rooting for you at basketball games.”
The more Jim thinks about it, the less and less he wants to risk playing in the big game (and all that it entails). So when the time comes for him to get his cast off, Jim says, “No thanks, Doctor. I’m keeping it on!”
Back in 2000, the Kevin Space movie Pay it Forward popularized the idea that giving can be viral. In the film, young Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osmont) receives a school assignment to somehow “change the world”. In response, Trevor comes up with an innovative plan: to encourage people to pay a favor forward…not just once, but three times. The rules of his scheme are:
#1 It (the good deed) has to be something that really helps people.
#2 It must be something they can’t do by themselves.
#3 I (the giver) will do it for them, then they will do a similar deed for three other people.
Although I found the movie at times a bit too saccharine for my taste, I certainly appreciated the sentiment: Giving not only feels good, but it can jump start a contagion of philanthropic behavior.