“I have no idea how we won,” Robinson said. “I really don’t know.” That really has been the Jayhawk theme this season, inexplicably stealing success from the jaws of sure failure, their schedule littered with improbable comebacks that defy explanation. — how can you not love that kind of winning?
This quote, from Dana O’Neil’s “How to Explain KU? Don’t Even Try,” epitomized not just the game and the way the Jayhawks have been playing lately, but so much of what I see around me all the time. Although winning a game isn’t exactly the main point of life (although this evening, as I watch the Jayhawks play UK for the championship, I’m sure I’ll feel differently), I love what this statement and this team say to me about what matters. I also think of Coach Bill Self’s statement to the press the other day about how, when KU plays Kentucky tonight, if the Jayhawks play business-as-usual basketball, Kentucky will demolish them. But if our guys continually continue, surprise and excel, they have a real chance at winning. This is some of the story behind the story I hear:
- Whatever your heart most truly desires, whatever you are sure you are alive for requires you to give everything you’ve got, even when there are only micro-seconds left.
- Realizing a dream isn’t just about planning, determination and desire, but always about practice, practice, practice.
- Stay loose. Move fast when it’s time. Take a chance.
- If things fall apart, shake it off, and keep your eyes on the prize. Shake off the bad calls and good calls, failed shots and winning ones.
- Winning a game may seem like the prize, but it’s really just the doorway to that prize, which is all about the spirit of community and inspiration. Losing opens that door too (sometimes even more so).
- Surprise your obstacles. Confuse them. Circle around when least expected. Switch strategies at the drop of a hat. Don’t ever get too predictable.
- Don’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up.
- Love the actual game: the way people can fly when least expected. The shockingly-improbable baskets. The way the ball whishes through and keeps bouncing.
- Arriving at what you dreamed is always — in addition to everything you put into getting here — a mystery. Celebrate that magic. Remember that everything, from the exploding pale green leaves of the cottonwood to the three-pointer floating down at just the right moment, is the end game (for the moment anyway) of the life force.