Great Players Compete to Win, Not Tie

Day in an day out for about the past 10 years, for better or for worse, I have listened to Mike and Mike on my morning drive into work. They annoy me, or at least Greenie does, but yet I still listen. This week was no different…Greenberg continued to anger me with his dopy analogies and over-analytical thought process. For the past four days, I have listened to him ask anyone who would listen why the Denver Broncos would have kicked a 62 yard field goal at the end of the game on Sunday night when a miss would seal the deal for them to lose. In case you were wondering, they missed and they lost. Greenberg’s feelings were that they should have punted the ball and played for the tie. The tie! I believe it was the great Paul “Bear” Bryant who once said, “A tie is like kissing your sister.” Who the heck goes out and practices day in and day out to play for a tie? No one, because true competitors play to win the game.

This brings up the notion of a player’s ability to compete. Great players compete all the time…every day, every drill, every play. Good players will only compete some of the time. And, bad players, well, there is a reason they are bad, they almost never compete. I once coached a player who scored 1500 career points in high school, was looked at by many Division 1 schools for basketball but chose to play football at Oklahoma where he started as a wide receiver for a brief period of time. He was, arguably, the most competitive player that I ever coached, to the point where I truly believed that he believed he should make every shot that he took. Seriously, there were times that I could remember sitting him down to explain that making every shot was just not possible and that he needed to relax and continue to play. None of those conversations ever took away his competitive drive though, and that is what made him great. He would never be satisfied with playing for the tie because that is not competing, that is not what great players do.

Great players compete all day every day and even in their sleep. Their ability to compete all the time is what makes them great and they know that this is a skill that you cannot just turn on and off. So if you have a desire to achieve greatness on the court, now is the time to start competing. Get after it and train hard.

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