Monday, March 14, 2022

Attitude, Angle, and Approach

Would you rather have the most talent or the best attitude?

Season 42 of Survivor premiered this week.  Maryanne, a smiley ball of energy, was the most memorable contestant from episode one.  Though she pulled the short straw and was forced to participate in a difficult challenge without her tribe, Maryanne’s positive attitude never faded.  I immediately knew she’d make it far in the season.

I don’t know much about Maryanne yet.  She may not be the most strategic social player or the most athletic in physical challenges, but she seems to have the best attitude in the group.

I grew up playing sports.  Players often envy the star of the team, the one who scores the most points and has the most features in the local paper.  If you’ve been on a sports team, you know that the star player is sometimes the one with the worst attitude or the biggest chip on their shoulder.

When I was on the middle school basketball team, my teammates and I used to idolize the most talented, highest scoring player on the high school team.  At the end of the season, our team was allowed to join the high school team for a joined practice.  The high school coach overheard us younger kids saying that we wanted to be just like that talented player.  He corrected us quickly.

“She’s a talented player, but she’s not a great player.  You guys should be watching her.”  The coach then pointed to a different player on his team.  Though she was known to be a great soccer player, this was her first year playing basketball, and she wasn’t too skilled yet.  Her dribbling was slow, and she was still getting the hang of a free throw.  She sat the bench most games.

Once we took our eyes off of the star player, we realized that this other player was the first one on the court setting up the water and balls for her team.  She was the last one to leave, clearing up plastic cups and saying “good game” to her teammates.  Win or lose, she wore a sportsmanlike smile.  To spectators, she was a benchwarmer.  To her coach, she was the most valuable player on the team.  He knew she’d go the farthest off the court, and he was right.

We’re told to strive to be the best.  Arguably, we should strive to be the most improved.  The one with the most try.  Your talent doesn’t matter.  With a positive attitude, angle, and approach, you’ll succeed.