Cherish your today

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“Daddy, she just told me I was fake crying!”

“Daddy, he just told me I am not funny!”

“Daddy, she just scratched and pinched me!”

“Daddy, I only scratched him, I didn’t pinch him!”

“Daddy, she pinched him.”

“Daddy, I scratched him and my fingers came together while I was scratching him and pinched him. I didn’t pinch him, because I was only trying to scratch him!”

This exchange was real, and it occurred faster than Usain Bolt in Rio. At the time it was happening, I was also on the phone with an old coach of mine talking hoops. One moment I was on the phone, and the next moment I was acting as moderator of a UFC fight, detective in an alleged “assault and battery” and a professor of logic.

This is that moment when things can go wrong

I quickly made whatever threats, pleas and deals I needed to keep my “team” quiet for a few minutes, then picked my phone back up. I heard my coach laughing and saying, “Cherish it, my man. Take advantage of it now. It will be too quiet before you know it. I would do anything to go back and do it again.”

We finished our talk and, still frustrated at my team for acting up during the call, I hung up and walked out to the kitchen, to a team that was now a cohesive unit laughing together and dancing to “I Believe I Can Fly” (my 3-year-old’s go-to song when she wants to make dad smile). I stood about 15 feet away, peeking around the corner and I “cherished” it.

My team was showing me again how to be a better coach.

“Cherish this moment” is a common piece of advice we have all received and given at some point of our lives. It’s easy advice to give out and easy to forget ourselves.

You have to cherish the time you have with your teams. My dad told me years ago to “enjoy the wins … because the losses will get you fired.” (What can I say, my dad is what you would call an old school coach!)

As coaches and parents we are always moving on to the next game, practice, film session or homework assignment. There is always something to do.

The goal is to stop and take in these moments. They may not all be ideal or what we perceive as good, but they are part of the process which leads to our successes or failures.

By cherishing the moments we create each day it does not mean that we are settling for where we are. I am not standing in my living room watching my kids fight and thinking, “Wow, this is great and I do not need to teach them any more about growing up.” You can’t settle as a coach or parent. I am not saying you always have to stop and smell the roses. I am saying at least see that there are roses.

By cherishing moments not only do we enjoy them more, we may actually give ourselves better information to improve more strategically, rather than just surviving the moment we are in.

I talked to a former player of mine a few months back and we were laughing about things that happened when he was playing for me. He now plays professionally and he said to me that he enjoyed being a pro, but missed the days with the old squad. We both agreed; it goes too fast.

I recently traveled to Indiana University to spend time with my college coach. It is great to spend time with people who have my back and he is at the top of that list for me. Just like my former player, I recalled the times Coach and I had together back at Marquette. We also recalled the times we had when I coached under him at Indiana. There are so many great memories and funny stories of several situations we had been through.

As we remembered and shared these moments it became clear that those situations made us better. Some of the situations at the time seemed like the worst thing in the world. Now they were just stories that improved us as coaches and an entire basketball program.

I often have looked back at my coaching and personal life and realized that things were not ‘that bad’ or that something is ‘funny’ now. Doing this also serves to make you a better and more positive person. When you cherish the moment, it’s easier to see the glass half-full, so to speak (And by the way, it is no good to be around people who take a sip out of that glass to make sure it is closer to being empty.)

Try to reflect while listening to advice from mentors, parents, and coaches. Strive to get you and your team to cherish whatever situation is going on in life. I once read that “someday you will miss today.”

Cherish your today.

Brian Barone played basketball at Texas A&M University and Marquette University and holds a master’s degree in communications. He now coaches men’s basketball at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

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