• Growing up with K

    Posted: December 1st, 2011

    Since an early age, I have been a Duke fan. Before I could spell DUKE, I was a Duke fan. I remember the excitement I had as a boy when anticipating a Duke game. I always loved basketball in general, but there was something about Duke that I liked that transcended just the game. It was they way they worked as a team, it was the pride they showed on the court, and most of all it was their leader. Little did I know that Coach K would not only be the best basketball leader I’ve ever seen, but he would also lead me through a tough time in my life.

    When I was 13 years old, I was attacked by a wild dog. I lost a lot of the feeling in my right leg, and was unable to walk without crutches for several months. I was certainly hurt, but what bothered me more than anything was the thought that I wouldn’t be able to attend the Duke vs. Stetson game. At that point in my life, it would be my first time in Cameron. Boy was I relieved when my parents said that we could go anyway!

    The game was great. I remember almost falling in the isle after a big dunk by Alaa Abdelnaby. But what I remember most was after the game. The way I was lead out of Cameron (because I was on crutches) put me close to the players and Coach K as they were heading off the floor. Without hesitation, I said down to Coach K, “Hey, nice win!” Coach K turned to see who had congratulated him, and here I stood – young kid on crutches. What he said next has stuck with me since that day. Coach K smiled, and said “You get off those crutches and maybe you can help me win one in a few years”

    I was inspired beyond belief! Here was the greatest coach in the game telling me that maybe one day I could play for him. It was only a few words, but coming from the greatest coach and motivator ever, I was moved. To this day, whenever I face a challenge, all I can hear is Coach K’s voice talking to me and believing in me, and it’s all I need to overcome anything!

Collective Responsibility

We win and we lose together. Handling the responsibility for wins and losses together removes the burden from one individual’s shoulders and distributes it among each member of the team. That atmosphere is conducive to high-level performance and places you and your team in the position to be bold and unafraid, and if you should lose, you are not alone.

- Coach K

When you are winning, your commitment is never challenged. But loyalty and dedication during difficult times can be tough. When commitment doesn’t waver, that’s when you have the greatest chance of winning. You can never give up.

- Coach K

Effective teamwork begins and ends with communication. Communication does not always occur naturally, and must be taught and practiced in order to bring everyone together as one. The most crucial element of communicating is telling the truth.

- Coach K

You can possess countless good qualities as an individual, but if you don”t have the courage to proceed, you may never see those qualities come into fruition. It takes courage to put what you believe to be best of you on the line, to test it, and to see how far it takes you. Courage means daring to do what you imagine.

- Coach K

When you care about someone or something, you show genuine concern for that person or thing, in good times or bad. When you care about one another and about your purpose, you are compelled to put your feelings into action. Care creates an atmosphere that breeds success and gives you the confidence to try again.

- Coach K

No matter how successful you believe yourself to be, you can never feel as if you’ve reached the absolute pinnacle. There are always new and wonderful challenges out there, and part of maintaining success is knowing when you need to accept them.

- Coach K

Adversity can teach you more about yourself than any success, and overcoming an obstacle can sometimes feel even better than achieving an easy victory. Through adversity, you can discover things about your endurance, your ability to turn a negative into a positive, and your personal strength of heart.

- Coach K

You have to adapt what you do based on who you are. In teaching, you must remember that no group or individual is the same as who you taught the day before, the year before, or the decade before. Your plan has to suit who you and your team are right now.

- Coach K

Take care not to allow one aspect of your life to so consume you that you neglect the others. Balance can put things in perspective, can bring you joy even when you are down, and can allow you to be at your best in all aspects of your life.

- Coach K

Belief can mean the difference between a fear of failure and the courage to try. On a team or in a family, belief makes each individual stronger and also fortifies the group as a whole. The basis of belief is in individual relationships.

- Coach K
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