It was a great time to be a sports fan from a history-making perspective in both hockey and basketball in June 2019 (pre-pandemic!) as both the NHL and NBA had come to conclusion. Even if you’re not a regular fan of either sport, it had been hard to escape the ongoing media coverage of either here in Canada. Although Canadians have a well-documented love affair with hockey, it would be a complete understatement to say that the St. Louis Blues win of the 2019 Stanley Cup had been grossly overshadowed by the Toronto Raptors not only capturing their first Larry O’Brien Trophy in 2019, but the fact that it was the first time it had been won outside of the United States of America.
Interestingly, as basketball was reclaimed by Canada as the sport “we invented”, 21 players out of the 30 that made up the St. Louise Blues roster were Canadian, while the Toronto Raptors had 1 player out of 15. Canadian content didn’t seem to be the driver in our patriotism that spring, or maybe it was just not as important as one moment over the other.
It seems that shortly after both victories, media and public speculation quickly turned to who was staying, who was going, and what each team needs to do to win again next year. I believe this behavior transcends into our personal and work life, both daily and for milestone moments, but should it?
Whatever the reason why you may have cheered the Blues or the Raptors, one message seemed to be consistent: Be in The Moment. Fred VanVleet, Pascal Siakam, and Kawhi Leonard all gave some advice to the fans at the parade celebration on June 17, “take the time to enjoy it”. It, being the win, the trophy, and the moments leading up to and including the championship itself.
How can this translate into a formula that can be used at work? If you’re part of a team, enjoy the ah-ha moments you have together before you tackle the next challenge, or appreciate the challenging task you have in front of you before you seek out another. If you’re a leader, not only appreciate the challenge you might have overcome yourself, but more importantly, recognize the achievements of your peer(s).
A high school teacher of mine told me a story that became a life-lesson that I passed on to my son at his graduation. As I left him post-ceremony to celebrate with his friends, I said, “Don’t rush the party. Enjoy the things you will all talk and laugh about tonight. Don’t be in a hurry to leave. Look around and take in everything about the event and the people you are with.” I compared it to a team that heads back to the locker room and doesn’t rush to take off their jerseys (win or lose), but instead keeps them on as long as they can because who knows when the next time they will win again and who will be wearing those jerseys with them, if they do. (By the way, if you noticed the Raptors locker room celebration, you would have seen many of them had their jerseys on under their championship t-shirts).
So as the highs from winning normalized and we all returned to our regularly scheduled programs (before the world went and faced a pandemic that changed how sports and business would look for the next couple of years, this is still true), find ways to be in each of the moments that you are in, instead of multi-tasking, speculating, negating, or posturing. Create moments that others will want to be a part of. Two years after their wins, the Toronto Raptors and St. Louis Blues look like very different teams.
Be in your moments. Be in each other’s moments. Enjoy them, today because well, we just don’t know what opportunity there will be to enjoy them tomorrow when someone asks, are we still the north?
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