How I see the game and its players?

I work in sports and I happen to be around with many different personalities — and that’s both good and bad. In a good way, it helps me to develop some thick skin which everyone eventually will need when venturing out the comfort zone of your bedroom after concluding school. In a bad way, it serves as a cold reminder just how good life was before all the world issues kick in.

People come and go in the sport world and I just happen to be one of the many hurrying passersby. However, during my brief time, I have learned one important life skill: Character. Character is what I look for when befriending and associating myself with others. Character is something you either have or you don’t. And if you don’t, it can only be achieved through self-realization. In short, it’s self-taught. You cannot teach a person character; only they can teach themselves

With that said, when I am at any sport game, especially at games where I’m unfamiliar with the players, the number one thing I readily look for is character.

So what do you mean by character? And how do you see that? In any sport, besides the few occasional elites, almost all the rest of the athletes are very similar in skills. Many can run fast and many are athletic and can do a lot of impressive things. More importantly, virtually all of the athletes are described as “good players.”

Now imagine you are building a team, with so many “good players,” and just limited spots on the roster available to be filled, how would you approach? For me, assuming all skills are similar and excluding the few freakish elites, I look for two things in a player: 1) good character and 2) everyday character.

These two characters don’t come easily. And they certainly won’t be reflected in the games and in person because players, like anybody else, are smart enough to fake it until they make it. With that said, here comes the importance of timeouts because timeouts reveal character. When I watch games, I like to see how the players interact and respond to the coaching staff and other players because that reflects good character. Timeouts tell a lot about a player than just “a good player.” It shows leadership, sportsmanship, coachability, humility, handling adversity and losses — and most importantly, it reveals ego. Ego is what gets into one’s own way. And ego is the number one enemy that prevents a player from being successful. I like to surround myself with people, not just only players, who have gotten over themselves because they understand that you may go fast if you go by yourself but you will certainly travel far if you go as a unit.

The second thing I look for is everyday character. This is something you have to look a little deeper. Believe it or not, many professional scouts actually reach out to the school team or the amateur league to inquire not the coaches, but to talk to people such as the athletic trainer or the equipment manager. They reach out to them to find out how the players treat people below them because this will be how they treat others in the future. And again, everyday character is something that can only be learned through self-discovery; it can’t be taught.

With so many “good players” out there, it is clear that the collective wellness of the team triumphs any individual accolades. I believe that each and every player has the ability to set examples for others and this is the very foundation of creating a winning culture. That said, if a player can take a hit here and there and sacrifice a little bit for the greater good, then the rest of the organization will naturally follow in and be part of the team.

Now here comes the question: What would happen if you have a selfish player who is off the mark? From my personal experience, as long as a selfish player is surrounded by selfless players, then that player will feel compelled to fit in and be part of the team because it’s very hard to be an jerk around good people. However, that is not always the case for everyone. People are who they are and there’s nothing you can change about them. Only they can teach them how to change themselves and that is through self-realization. With this in mind, if your team has a very selfish player, then it is better to let that toxic person go. In general, the best way to move up and improve in life is to surround yourself with good people. This very concept also explains why some teams, despite featuring massive talent, have players who are mad at everybody because they are unhappy with their minutes, they way they are being used on the court, and a thousand other things. A team cannot move forward nor can it operate successfully if the owner is only looking for quick results. It takes time to build a successful culture and franchise, and one of the most common mistakes foolish managers and people make is they always expect too much too soon. A team endures different situations throughout the season and at the end, selfish people are going to come out in the wash and implode the organization as a whole. When that day comes, then the team is in big trouble. As a result, whether you are making friends or actually building a sport team, it is very crucial to look for the right people because good attitude can go a long way. The same formula of associating yourself with selfless people can also be used to life outside of sport. It can virtually applied to every life aspect ranging from starting a business company to dating.

So next time when you watch a sport game, observe carefully on how the players interact with each other because those will be the people who you want to befriends with.


Have a great day,

J.H. Yeh


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