Making the Game Yours

This week I downloaded the book When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. While I’m not a huge basketball fan, I always enjoy reading how people set and achieve goals and find success in their field. The book is riveting. What’s hilarious is I know very little about the strategy of basketball, but I found it really didn’t matter. The dynamics between the two men and their teams caught and held my full attention.

The two rivals had a fierce competition. They literally hated each other and each other’s teams. The only time they ever interacted was in competition, though they followed each other’s every move on and off the court. Their goal? Take down their opponent. Focus 200% on ways to interfere with the other’s success on the court and forge a path for their own team to win.

In the mid 80’s they were invited to do a Converse commercial together. It was a rivalry shot and in between takes they visited with each other for the first time. Both were shocked by how much they had in common; how their childhoods, their training regimens, their drive to be the best were so similar. Both had held the vision of playing basketball at the highest level and both had driven themselves and their teams to play at the top of their game.

I was reading this book on the plane ride home from Seattle – holding my phone up so I could see it,  with the man sitting behind me looking over my shoulder and reading along. After we deplaned, he caught up with me and asked what the book was. He too had been enthralled with the story. Then he said he had worked for the Boston Globe during that era and had gotten to go into the locker room after the games. Wow! That was a cool experience!

We reminisced about this time in history and how amazing it had been to watch those games. This was another one of those random moments in time where a stranger and I had this magical discussion. I walked away marveling at how our shared delight had enhanced my experience of reading that book – had left me giddy with the recall of that time. In a way, we had made the game ours. We had owned our experience of that time and shared what it had meant to us.

This week, make the game yours. Whatever you are watching or reading or witnessing that you are enjoying, imagine it’s your life and that you are living that experience. Play it out and see what you learn.

Then watch for that random moment where life gives you a chance to connect with someone. Look for it, it’s often closer and easier to find than you think. You’ll be amazed at how small this big planet really is and you’ll get to revel in that magical moment when YOU made the game yours.


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