Sometimes all you have to do is show up
This post is about one of the best experiences of my life. I couldn’t have planned it, but looking back I realized I had spent years preparing for it.
When you’ve prepared, sometimes you only need to show up.
One fall in the mid to late 90s, when I was playing ultimate seriously, I was looking for a team to play with. A good friend of mine told me about a team he was playing with and invited me to try out.
In New York City getting to practices is hard, so we had to get rides with people out to Westchester. When we arrived, the captain of the team, Matty J, one of the sport’s greats, who helped New York win six of seven Nationals championships from 1987 to 1993, said to me
Sorry to say this, but this team has already formed. I guess you didn’t know it, but we already had cuts and the roster has been finalized. Since you came all the way out here, you might as well play, but that’s the deal.
I couldn’t change the past so what could I do? He was cool to let me play so I did. Now, so many years later, I don’t remember how that practice went, but I remember what he said at the end of practice.
I like how you played. Why don’t you come out again?
I made the team, which ended up having some of the best players I’ve ever played with — Matty J, Kenny Dobbyns, Ben Usati, and a few other incredible players. We lost the game to go to Nationals by two points.
Lesson learned: When you’ve prepared, sometimes all you have to do is show up.
It helps to have practiced intensely for years too, of course.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees