Sporting Advice

It’s World Cup fever in my house. As I blog, New Zealand is on its way to a huge upset of Italy. Hard not to root for the underdog. Right, I may have to rethink this–as I glanced up from my laptop to the TV, the shot was on the crowd–about a dozen bare-chested, overweight New Zealand men, waving their shirts in the air. Not a pretty sight.

But I digress.

For a while we had basketball fever in my house as well. But then the Lakers wrapped it all up in the seventh (rather exciting) game against the Boston Celtics. With all the in-your-face technology available these days, the TV viewer was able to hear what the coaches were saying to the players at time-outs.

Doc Rivers told his team at one critical point that he didn’t want any heroes. That they should play together. As a team.

For some reason that resonated with me. I got to thinking about the question from Elyse, one of my book group members, our very first meeting. What makes a really good discussion?

Well, one thing that helps is when the group converses as a team. That sounds sort of strange, but if you think about it, it’s true. If someone shows up with the mindset of being a hero–of dominating the discussion with her opinion, of being “right” in her interpretation of the book, in short–if someone shows up with an open gob but a closed mind–then the conversation will suffer.

So arrive at your next meeting with an open and curious mind. Really listen to what others say before responding, and try to remark upon–and dig deeper into–what they are saying. This sounds simple but takes some practice. Many members just want to speak what’s on their minds rather than engage with what has been said by someone else. However, following one topic to it’s conclusion before moving on to another can result in a much more fruitful conversation for everyone.

So thanks, Coach Rivers, for the tip. The Lakers, coached by Phil Jackson, went on to take the championship, so let’s give a nod to Coach Jackson also. He has coached more championship teams than any other coach in sports. So, he must be doing something right. To find out more, log onto http://www.amazon.com and see the books he’s written. And if you read any of them, don’t forget to WHIRL!

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