All Aboard the Train
I speak often to our team about being on a train. And the guys make jokes about it. 'Has he talked about the damned train yet?"
I know they make jokes about it and I can see the smiles they crack and the looks they give one another when I mention it. But I talk about it anyway.
The train is a vehicle we are on for the journey. On board the train are all of our players, coaches, managers, staff-and all of the qualities we teach and believe in: the truth, the repetition in practice, the heart , the fist, everything.
During a critical period of the season, I might say something like: "The train's moving fast right now, guys. are you on board?" Or I might tell them, "You can't be on someone else's train right now. You have to be on our train. we're moving and we're not stopping for you. Are you on it or not?"
I speak about the duke basketball train at practices and at games. And the train stops at all games.
As a matter of fact, each game is an intermediate stop on our journey. We get off the train and see how we're doing. Games are not our final destination. They are checkpoints on our progress-and we all realize that once the game is over, win or lose, it becomes part of the season.
sometimes wonderful things happen on those intermediate stops. It might be the day we experience a great shot or a great comeback. Or more importantly, it might be on the night one of our kids becomes a man.
I've seen that in our own life as host parents with our first host son Felipe. The first night Jula and Felipe were here together, Felipe woke us up in the middle of the night by knocking on our bedroom door and was whining in fear because he had found a frog on the pillow of his bed. He couldn't touch it and needed it removed. Before we could get our house coats on, Jula had gotten the frog, carried it to the door, opened the door, closed and locked the door and yelled, "No worries, I took care of it!"
We still laugh about this. However, before Felipe left, while at the Animal Kingdom at DisneyWorld, Felipe went with Jula without us as parents. He came back with a smile that was ear-to-ear. He told us with excitement and pride, "I touched a snake. I held it. I did it myself." We couldn't believe it. We asked Jula to confirm and she did. She was proud of him and so were we. I still can't believe it. We made Jula and Felipe get back in line to do it again so that we could have a photo.
It was one of those times where we had stopped the train for its last stop before arriving at the final destination and although it was the night Felipe had faced his fears and overcame them just by telling himself he was going to do it first in his mind. And it had become part of the journey, a very long slow, exhilarating, fun journey. As we embark on our journey with Gabriele and Malte, we will ride the train and be sure to do the right thing and enjoy the beauty from the window during the short ride of the season.
Mutual commitment helps overcome the fear of failure—especially when people are part of a team sharing and achieving goals. It also sets the stage for open dialogue and honest conversation. ~Coach K