It seems like they have more on the line. Every play, every possession, every decision commands the utmost concentration. I’m not sure it means any more to them, but it sure looks like it means a lot more to them. The only people in the gym more focused than the players in the game were the ones on the bench. People talk about Cinderellas and underdogs. That’s what they call them. They didn’t listen. They don’t call themselves that.
On April 7th, two great basketball programs will clash for the NCAA division 1 Basketball Championship. The tournament selects the top 64 teams in the nation and ranks them. If you have ever watched the tournament, you have noticed that teams are always listed by their seed. For example, Cincinnati always had a 5 seed next to their name. The number 12 hovered just over North Dakota State. At times, even the commentators would forget the team’s name and just list their seed.
The days and weeks before the tournament are overwhelmed with angst, speculation and conjecture. Players, coaches and fans are preoccupied with their team’s rank. They want to know where they will be in the bracket. They want to know where they will stand. They are consumed with what their seed will be.
Sounds a little bit like everyday life. Most of us live everyday overwhelmed with angst, speculation and conjecture. We become preoccupied with our rank. We want to know where we will be in the bracket. Just like the teams in the tournament, we want to know where we stand and what our seed will be.
The two teams playing in the championship game are not very interested in their rank. The 7th seeded University of Connecticut has beaten a 10 seed, a 2 seed, a 3 seed and a 4 seed. The 8th seeded University of Kentucky has beaten a 9 seed, a 1 seed, a 4 seed and a 2 seed. It’s obvious that these teams couldn’t care less about their seed. Obviously, they don’t walk around with that little magic number over their heads.
These teams don’t care that 26 other teams were supposed to be better than them. They don’t need a rank to know where they stand. They aren’t overwhelmed with the angst, speculation and conjecture that goes along with being validated by someone else. They were not going to let anyone else define them. They are not Cinderellas or underdogs. As far as they were concerned, the two teams playing for the nation championship are both self-designated number ones.
This should be the same at work, at school and in everything we do. We can wait patiently and become preoccupied with where society’s selection committee ranks us. We can become overwhelmed with the angst, speculation and conjecture that follows. We can sit around and wait for the world to tell us what bracket we are in. Or, we can define ourselves, create or own rank and make every single number one seed quiver.