I’ve always been amazed at how closely the body’s sense of smell is tied to our memories. Every time I smell a freshly baked pumpkin pie, it’s like I’m sitting as a child in my grandparent’s home. The smell of popcorn puts me in the bleachers of Busch Stadium cheering on my beloved St. Louis Cardinals. The smell of stinky, sweaty teenagers will also take me back to fond memories of dedication, perseverance, and determination. How is it possible that such a bad smell can cause me to recall such fond memories?
On March 26, 2011, a group of young men at Indianapolis Met High School became the third fastest team in Indiana state history to win a boys basketball state championship. They did this with a very limited budget and no home gym. They did this with the type of challenges that would cause the average high school athlete to think twice about their dedication to their sport. They also did this with the type of loyalty and teamwork that would make any CEO jealous.
Every basketball player has the ability to run, jump, shoot, and pass. But what separates the average player from a champion? I believe it is more than the physical limitations of the body. I believe that it is something from within. It has as much to do with the heart, the brain, and the soul as it has to do with the arms and the legs. It has more to do with their blood, sweat, and tears than their hands or feet. It takes a person’s ability to let their heart teach their body that the team is more important than the individual. And even more impressively, it takes five bodies acting as one, with one brain, one goal, and one ego.
How is it possible for some players and teams to achieve this while others cannot? That is the million dollar question. If it were easy, everyone team would be a champion or every company would be the best in their market. It takes patience and forgiveness and high expectations and high accountability. It takes a little luck. But when it happens, your brain begins to tell you that you are in the middle of something special. You begin to start looking at things a little bit differently. You start paying attention to every sight, sound and smell. Even the stinky, sweaty teenagers.