Champions at Heart

Heartbreaking day…

Today, experience was overcome by youth… Age fell to athleticism…

The Spurs fell after a valiant effort to a younger Heat team…

They fell fighting to the very end…with a lot of pride and a lot of fight. They pushed youth and talent to their limits and even almost snatched a victory, had it not been for late game defense lapses.

I feel for Tim And Manu. At the twilight of their careers, they deserve a better send-off. These are good guys, on and off the court. Especially Tim, who has been the franchise’s cornerstone, someone who elected to be loyal to the team, even to the point of taking less money, so that his small market team can afford to rebuild. He never sought the limelight, though he was always a real star at heart, playing consistent top level games day in and day out for the past 16years. He had the chance to leave for bigger money in 2000, yet he elected to stay, while the Spurs attempted to rebuild around him, not through buying free agents, but through painstaking player development and good scouting of potential draft picks.

For all these, and for his efforts in the NBA Finals, especially in the final 2 games where he led the team in scoring and rebounds, a championship would have been a fitting final stamp to his Hall of Fame career.

I’ve always been a loyal Spurs fan, from the time Duncan was drafted in 1997, actually even from the time of David Robinson. I admire their classiness, the way they play beautiful fundamental basketball, their consistency, the way the organization and the players are loyal to each other, their demeanor during games, where there isn’t much hype, chest pumping, courtside strutting, trash-talking, or arrogant behavior, and their commitment to real community service. They win the hard way, with the belief that winning is not supposed to be easy, hence they treat each opponent with utmost respect. They never swing elbows. They don’t complain about team mates or salaries. They don’t get coaches fired. They model humility and grace. As Max Lucado would say, “They were classy, not sassy.”

Because of these attributes, most people find them boring.

We think otherwise.

For the past 4 Championships, we, the Spurs fans have celebrated because of these things our team has stood for, all these years. The Spurs winning made us feel that one does not have to be “big” to win. One doesn’t have to be arrogant or demanding to be able to take the big stage. The Spurs showed that players don’t have to be cheap or dirty to be effective. All through the Tim Duncan years, they have followed David Robinson, who, “never felt a need to bring attention to himself, to shimmy after a good play or point to the crowd, as if to say, “Look at me. Aren’t I something special?“” For all those years, “goodness” won. Decency and humility won.
Everybody won.

The Spurs may have lost today. But i believe, they have won everyone’s respect. From their opponents, to their haters to the loyal fans. For me, devastating day as it is, that is somewhat a consolation.

As my pal and fellow long-time Spurs fan, Dan Hernandez said, we have loved the Spurs since Ginobili still had long hair, and past that. And we will always do. Win or lose, we believe in them. We will continue to watch them play, and stay on, even when they are on the losing end.

They may not have been crowned as champions today. But for an ever-loyal fan like me, they are, and will always be.

Mitch Albom’s “The Time Keeper”

I read Mitch Albom’s latest novel, “The Time Keeper” tonight. It was so good, so heart-wrenching that I read it from cover to cover starting at 11pm to 2 am. And I learned a lot of life lessons. I will write about them soon. For tonight’s entry, i would just like to say that I found myself re-evaluating the way I deal with things in my life. Many times I lose a sense of awe about events, moments with loved ones and friends because i am so busy counting time, thinking that I have so little of it to spare. And when I do so, i fail to savor the moment and get lost in numericals. The book exposed that in me and made me realize that for me to truly live, i would have to forget about keeping count and just enjoy each minute as God gives me.

It’s an excellent book. I highly recommend it.

The Most Important Five Percent

If you and I are going to enjoy healing and rest at our very core, we must discover and discern the top 5% of life.

85% of what we do, anyone can do: checking e-mail, answering messages, attending meetings, reading the newspaper or journals and making simple decisions. These tasks do not require an elite expertise or specialized skill. Many of these tasks can be delegated to others so we can concentrate on what’s most important to the job we have been given to do.

10% of what we do, someone with a modicum of training should be able to accomplish. After all, if we were trained to do what we do, someone else of like capability could learn how to run the computer program, solve the problem, lead the meeting, or do the tasks that we do. With appropriate schooling and experience, someone else can perform a surgery, manage an engineering project or sell real estate. Certain aspects of these activities can be assigned to trained individuals.

But the 5% of what I do, only I can do. This is the most important 5% for me. I can’t delegate these initiatives to anyone else. I can’t hire someone else to take my place in any of these activities because they require that I’m there. This 5% will determine the validity of the other 95%. This is what I had to discover and make as the epicenter of my life.

My 5% may differ from yours, but the principle is transferable to everyone – married, single, widowed, old or young. It is true for those with children, empty nesters or young couples just starting out in life.

I had to rethink what was most important to me – what God had asked me to do – and how I would restructure my life to concentrate on these priorities in my final stretch. I had to think what my last 5% would include. What were the things that only I could do and, if neglected, would affect the rest of my life.

Here’s what I wrote down:

  1. An intimate walk with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
  2. A healthy relationship with my beloved
  3. An loving family that is close to God and close to one another
  4. A life of integrity
  5. A physically healthy body and a creative soul
  6. Time to enjoy life with family and friends

These 6 items require a daily investment of my time and heart. In fact, the condition of these 6 areas will, to a large extent, determine the state of my life. If these areas are compromised, the consequences will be felt in other areas. If this 5% fell into disrepair or neglect, my life would grind to a halt until these priorities were once again restored.

The crucial 5% is what God will one day hold you accountable for.  It will not necessarily be the 85% that will shape your future, or the 10% that will build your legacy. It may impress the world, it may burnish your resume, but it won’t impress God as much as that all-important 5%. Your choice of what is most important will shape your soul.

We won’t be held accountable for how much we have done but for how much we have done of what He has asked us to do.

[EXCERPT from The Divine Mentor, Wayne Cordeiro; 6 items mine]