Passing the Baton

Screenshot 2015-10-29 15.00.09

I watched the Minnesota Timberwolves battle the Los Angeles Lakers in the first game of the 2015-16 season. It was a great game that really caught my attention. Even though it was on late, I decided to watch it to the end and boy am I glad I did. Early on the Lakers where very much in control of the game, but late in the contest the Timberwolves started to chip away at the lead.

In the fourth quarter it felt like the momentum had changed as they Timberwolves came back. The young players on the court,  Ricky Rubio, Andrew Wiggins, Carl-Anthony Towns, Zach Levine and Shabazz Muhamand and Serbian Nemanja (Serbian star) came back from 14 points down to take a 9 point lead. But the Lakers fought back in the closing minute of the game to take the lead. But with just 5 seconds left in the game, Wolves #1 pick the 2015 NBA Draft, the rookie hit a shot that gave the lead and the win.

What I saw at the end of the game impressed me. It is a picture that will stick in my mind and one that I believe we all can learn from and apply in our lives.

The closing of the game was incredible. The Minnesota Timberwolves older experienced veterans up off the bench cheering on their teammates. They watched as the baton was being passed. They were in the game a lot differently than they were used of being in the game. They were all used of being on the floor, listen to the coach design the play or call the defense. In that huddled they were getting ready to have their number called t0 take the last shot. But not last night! No they were cheering the young inexperienced players with so much potential as they try to win the game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With veteran, Hall of Fame player Kobe Bryant on the floors with his team, now in a different role on the team, veterans Kevin Garnett, Andre Miller, Tayshaun Prince, and Kevin Martin not even in the game when the game was on the line.

But the picture of these veterans with their arms around each other and as the camera pans their way jumping up and down as 1st pick in the 2015 draft, Karl-Anthony Towns hits a turn-around jump shot to put the T-wolves up 112 -111. Then during the ensuing time-out with just 4.2 seconds left, the emotional encouragement of the veterans of the young players to finish and win the game.

I believe that in life you get an opportunity to lead. At sometime and someplace you are given the opportunity to step to the plate and take the lead. I also believe there is a time when the baton gets passed on, either in a positive or negative way. When the experienced star, they guy that is used to being in the limelight, gives way to the inexperienced up-coming star to see them thrive in and under the pressure of the moment.

Whether that is in sports, church world, a company or organization there comes a time. There is a time for the baton to be pass.

How will? How are? How did you handle that time in your life as a business owner, entrepreneur, team member, CEO, lead pastor, or any other position of change?

Wow, what a moment in Minnesota Timberwolves Basketball and an one I will never forget. What a moment of teaching for those of us who truly desire pass the baton to the next generation as they dream and lead, as the spotlight of life pans away to the next generation!


And Suddenly

Just a couple of days ago a man who has had an impact on Minnesota basketball, passes away. This morning the head coach for the Minnesota Gopher Football team abruptly retires. And “Suddenly”.
In August he announced that he was stepping down as the coach the Minnesota Timberwolves, due to health issues. Then a couple of months later, Flip Saunders has died. Then, this morning Coach Jerry Kill abruptly and tearfully announced in a press conference that he would be retiring, saying his epilepsy has become too draining on him to continue his exhaustive effort to turn the program (University of Minnesota football) into a Big Ten power.
Kill stated he had two seizures this week and went to practice Tuesday anyway, hoping he could still make this (coaching) work. But the toll of his body, his mind, and his family has become too big. Kill said he has not slept more than three hours on any night in the last three-week.
“I went through a bad situation two years ago, and I’m headed right back there,” Kill said. His wife, Rebecca, has been staying up all night to monitor him in case of another seizure. He went on to say, “Hell, that ain’t anyway to live,”
Flip Saunders announced in August he was being treated for Hodgkin Lymphoma. His doctors considered it to be “very treatable and curable,” and he continued to remain the Timberwolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations. Then he was hospitalized with a “setback” in September, the team announced that He would miss the entire 2015-16 season.
Then, “suddenly” the announcement came, “The NBA family is mourning today of the loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders,” said Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner.
“Flip untimely passing has left a gaping hole in the fabric of our league. Flip was a beloved figure around the NBA, nowhere more than in Minnesota, demonstrating a genuine and consistent passion for his players, his team, and the game.” And then suddenly this great man, coach,on Oct. 25, 2015. “The NBA family is mourning today of the loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders.”
Reflecting on all these two stories I came to the realization that things and life can change “suddenly”. My then “suddenly” happened, February 17, 2009. I was in for a routine doctor visit, from which I was being rushed in an ambulance to Methodist Hospital, to learn that I had congestive heart failure. My ejection fraction (fluid being pumped through the heart) was just 10%. The cardiologist told us that my heart was enlarged and collecting fluid, and I had a leaky heart valve.  Then “Suddenly!”
There are circumstances that cause direction of ones life to take a drastic turn. Sometimes after many years of being in a position you love, or a place that you have dreamed of being, or a phone call, appointment, or doctor visit.
Change is inedible. We don’t really know when it is coming. Sometimes that change happens over a period of time as we evaluate a situation or our circumstance that is happening in our life. Other times it is a “suddenly”. One that you never expected to happen, nor were you prepared to happen. One of those things that happen other’s health, families or careers.
None of us are immune to any of these scenario in life.
As the sport’s announcers and radio talk show hosts and commenters deal with these losses we realize it can happen to anyone at any time.
And suddenly!
Whether in seemly the battle with cancer and a setback, or who abruptly has to leave the profession of coaching of 32 years he loved. Just remember not one of us are immune to then “Suddenly”.
Count on your health instead of your wealth
Count on God instead of yourself
 – Jerry Kill –