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How to Win

Other People’s Achievements

“Life is not a spectator sport.”

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out in New York yesterday to honor the Yankees and their 27th World Series title.

They made it a picnic in November, wearing their Yankee gear to the victory parade and maneuvering for a view of their heroes.

It was all good fun. Sports has a role and a place in our lives, especially in otherwise grim times. But in watching you couldn’t help but wonder: Do people put as much time, effort and passion into their own pursuits as they do in saluting the triumph of others?

Triumph need not be reserved for a select few. Everyone has the ability to find greatness in some field, but often that energy goes into spectating. Stories of victory and glory wind up going to someone else. The other guy rides down the Canyon of Heroes.

Walking down a street in New York, you could pass one person after another wearing a Yankee cap, shirt or jersey. On the one hand, it’s all innocent fun. On the other hand, it’s a case of sharing in the glory without paying any of the price.

In coaching, you get joy from watching young people learn to achieve. One day this season, after a great performance, one of the players on our team told her mom it was the best day of her life. Not because someone else had achieved something, but because she had achieved something.

We teach the players that there is a connection between what you do and what you get. If you do the right kind of things, you improve your chances of getting a good result. If you don’t do much, you don’t get much.

That’s the trouble with spectating. You don’t do much except watch and cheer the achievements of others. It may be fun, but it can’t compare to building achievements of your own.


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