Sports are more than games; they are a way of life. A game is something you do and a sport is something you live. It is impossible for anybody to invest as much time as I do into sports and say it is only a game, because to me it is so much more – it is my way of life. As I sit down to write this, I have spent my New Year’s Day at my wife’s Hanai parents’ house watching the Dallas Cowboys miss out on the playoffs, losing to the New York Giants. As soon as I got home, I put on the LA Clippers and Portland Trailblazers game and watched Chris Paul come up clutch and put the game on ice. Now I am watching a Tommy Lasorda interview, talking about the 1988 World Series Game 1 where Kirk Gibson hit the walk-off homerun. I was 5 years old at the time, and that was my first sports-related memory. So as you can see, sports is more than a game to me and if you are the same way, as I expect you are if you are reading this, I encourage you to live your life like it is a sport.
Happy New Years! I hope that 2011 was a good year for you, and that 2012 will be even better. That is the best thing about starting a new year or a new season; the optimism. Every team or person has a chance at having a winning season. Right now your record, like a team starting a new season, is 0-0. Every day is a new game, so everyday you have to go out there and play to win. If you go out there and live your life like Cal Ripkin Jr. played the game, you will have a great year because just showing up is not an option. If you go out there and live your life the “right way” you will win more games. How many times have you heard an athlete say, “We just have to take it one day at a time”? So that is what I am encouraging you to do. Take it one day at a time, because everyday is a new game and whether or not you win is up to you.
Show up everyday and play as hard as you can and leave it all on the field. Do all the little things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score because if you do, you will have no regrets, win or lose. If you can go to bed at the end of the day knowing that you gave it your all and tried your best, I guarantee you will have won the game and if you didn’t, there is always tomorrow. Showing up and playing hard is only part of the equation, you need to have a game plan. Sit down and figure out what you want to accomplish this “season”. What would it take to have a winning season, make the playoffs, win your division, or win the championship? Then go out there and try your hardest to make it happen. Do you think Kobe Bryant was given a championship? No! He worked harder than anyone else to become the best player in the game and that is what you need to do. Work harder than anyone else to win your championship. Play to win and have a great year!