Perspectives On Loss: 9/11 and USA Basketball

September 11, 2019

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As the clock ticked away this morning, ending the USA Basketball loss to France, the weight of the loss instantly evaporated from my mind.  Why? Because I looked at the clock… was 9:03am……the exact moment the 2nd plane struck the Towers 18 years ago today.

I’m sure you know exactly where you were on that morning.  I was an assistant coach at Xavier and we had just finished a skill workout.  One of our players, Alvin Brown, looked at his phone and darkly spoke. “Hey Coach, a plane just flew into the World Trade Center.”   From that moment on, our day changed – and the world along with it ever since.

I said a prayer this morning for all of those affected by the attacks.  I hope that they continue to heal, although they’ll never be completely healed.  I also hope they know they’ll never be forgotten.  When you lose a loved one, it changes your perspective on what “true loss” really means.  As a competitor in sports, you will continue to hate to lose, but you’re able to place it within the proper backdrop of life itself.

I read the tweets this morning after the USA loss.  Greg Popovich summed it up in his postgame quotes.  While he was thoroughly disappointed, he finished his comments with 3 words: “Life goes on”.   I’m sure there are some distorted fans out there who didn’t give a thought about 9/11 today and only voiced their Twitter displeasure about the USA team.  I hope not – but from reading some of the tweets – it’s true.   I hope and pray it doesn’t take someone with that mindset to lose a loved one in order for their perspective to change.  Coach Popovich lost his wife last year after a long illness battle.   So I know, even with today’s disappointment, that he’ll be able to keep things in the proper frame of mind moving forward.

As coaches, our greatest challenge is to separate “what we do” from “who we are”.  If you’re a coach, or high performance leader reading this post, don’t ever lose yourself to what you do.  Throw yourself fully into it, yes indeed. But keep your faith, your loved ones, and your closest friends out in front.  They deserve the best of you first.  Because they felt that way before the “what you do” ever came along.   Trust me, when the “what you do” in life changes or shifts, they will keep going along with you as life goes on…..


Much Love,

Alan 🏀

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