As the Indiana Hoosiers celebrated their amazing win over Michigan on Sunday to clinch the Big Ten title, a local news channel caught on tape an exchange between Indiana head coach Tom Crean and Michigan assistant coach, Jeff Meyer. The confrontation has been kicked around in the media and Coach Crean has issued a public apology, so I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to comment; but after pondering the story, there are some lessons for each of us to consider. Here’s the footage from an Indiana media perspective:
In any situation like this, we don’t know the full story and many of us are quick to judge. In my neck of the woods, Marquette fans who are still wounded by the way Crean left for IU, are quick to be critical of any of his actions and scream that his true character was on display. Meanwhile, Hoosier nation is quick to applaud his fierce loyalty to the players who helped him rebuild a program wounded by a scandal created by his friend and predecessor at IU, Kelvin Sampson. That’s where Jeff Meyer, a former assistant with Sampson at IU, enters the mix, as outlined from the Michigan perspective by Chris Balas on TheWolverine.com (For more information on Jeff Meyer, Chris provides great background information). There are many possible conclusions to draw about the nature of the confrontation. We each have our own perspective, and while some of us have a closer view than others, the true story is often clouded in contradictory reports. Unfortunately, this is one of the fruits of our social media and instant news culture.
BASKETBALL – The true story is often hidden.
The lesson in basketball is pretty simple – the only ones who know inner workings of a given team are those intimately involved with the team on a year-round, daily basis. Everything else is presumption.
Years ago, our women’s staff at Marquette received some great advice from legendary Tennessee coach, Pat Summitt. She urged us to teach our players to be completely aware of the effect of the 3 P’s – Parents, Peers, and Press. These groups cannot accurately understand the issues related to a team, unless they are present and involved with every aspect of the team, so don’t allow them to cloud your judgment of your team’s journey. Parents and other family members are not able to be completely objective. They love us and will usually inflate our importance. That’s not criticism, it’s a simple reality. Peers – friends and fans; usually tell us what we want to hear out of a desire to associate with us. And the Press, whose role continues to be transformed, is looking for material – positive, negative, or shocking. Their existence is based on supplying information and commentary to the public. The bottom-line is that all three groups can negatively impact the members of an organization. Coaches, as well as players, must temper the effects by maintaining a clear, honest vision of their individual role and the effectiveness of the collective group.
LIFE – Do you know the truth?
It’s incredibly easy to be critical of other people without knowing the facts. How many times do we jump to conclusions about a co-worker or a competitor? How often do we make judgments on the parenting techniques or driving habits of people we encounter? And in our country now, how many of us presume to know the inner workings of a Federal government that can’t seem to make decisions that a majority of us agree with? And while we can find incredible amounts of information about anything these days, how often do we actually know the truth? That house down the street where the driveway is never plowed in the winter and the grass is rarely cut ? Is there more to the story? That star player whose minutes have been cut dramatically? Is there more to the story? A relevant quote popped up on my Facebook Wall today:
“The only people who truly know your story are the ones that helped you write it.”—Unknown
FAITH – Focus on our own!
When it comes to our faith, each of us is on our own journey with unique challenges and situations. It’s narrowed-minded for any of us to consider the character, behavior, and actions of others without knowing the full story. I often fall into that trap when I attend church. I’ll admit it. It’s a weakness for me. I tend to be hyper-sensitive to insincerity and trying to figure out who is playing the Sunday church game of “Everything is Great,” when truthfully, I have little knowledge of their situations. Just as many of us should avoid being critical of the Crean & Meyer clash, we should be careful about presuming we know the whole story. And as Coach Summitt’s “Three P’s” suggests, we should be careful with incomplete perspectives. Paul makes the same suggestion to the Galatians (6:4-5)
4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load.
Let’s all focus on our own load and be careful when we don’t know everything about somebody else’s load!