A few weeks ago, I took my 7-year old son to the Colorado Avalanche game and though we've been there before, this was for a school function so they weren't the best seats in town although frankly, I don't think there are bad seats at an Avalanche game especially if you're a student at a game where you could sit up high and see how things develop. We were up high but it changes your perspective. As we were sitting up there, little Ryan was asking about things in the sky and as I looked up, he pointed to the jerseys in the ceiling and asked these questions:
What are they doing there? Are they special? How come there are hockey and basketball ones? How come there are some with no names on but say Champions?
As I sat there and asked those questions, it just dawned on me how significant and how much work went into those banners and what they signify. As a former athlete, I worked my tail off to get my name on the rafters. I don't think there's a kid that played sports that didn't dream about playing on the Super Bowl or on the NBA Championships or winning a home run or getting your name on the rafter. It's all about winning championships.
So I explained to my son that those were the leaders and champions who were fortunate enough to get their name raised and be recognized because of their hardwork. They were recognized that they were the best of the best.
My son sat there a little puzzled and further asked what the best of the best means. I didn't have a good 7-year-old-answer to him except for this:
When you play basketball and there's 20 different teams and you know who the best guys are on that team. Then you take those best guys and stick them on another team and then you take those best guys and you stick them on another team and then you get to the very end where there's nothing left but guys that are the BEST. They're the best of those guys or girls. Those are the ones who get their names on the rafters.
What does it take to get up there?
Do your best.
I thought about this relating to business and questioned myself if this what I'm doing and the things I go after. Am I working so hard to get to the rafters where I want to be the best?
I played sports and I fell short of it as a lot of people do too. But it's the journey that matters. And as I questioned that, it became so surreal to me.
Then my son asked me this question I knew it was coming, "Dad, are you retired and in the rafters like them?" I told him I was on the Hall of Fame in high school although nothing like these guys.
Lessons to be Learned:
We all aspire to work as hard as we could to get our names in the rafter and to be a champion or to get our team in the rafters and retire. But you won't get there if you don't work like a champion, if you don't have fun, or if you don't lead. You will get close and you will earn legacy status if you do those things even if you don't get into the rafters.
There's a lot of great people in business and in the sports world that are not in the rafters but still live epic lives.
Are you working hard to get into the rafters? Or are you just going with the flow and drifting? Are you fulfilling your destiny and using your God-given skills to better yourself and the world, to better your family, to better your life, and to better your circumstances? Are you getting up everyday letting your feet up the ground, getting fired up to be the best you can be?
Books, People, & Resources:
I'm researching former professional athletes and how they transition from being an athlete or a new lead athlete into the "real world." I'm interested in hearing about their struggles, their challenges, roadblocks, successes, and everything in between. Sports has always been a big part of my life. I love them. I have a special interest in athletes and specifically the ones that have competed at the highest levels. Do you know anyone like that? If so, I'd love to hear from them or maybe it's even you. Shoot me an email at ryan@Focus53.com.