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Always fight for your right to win the game

POSTED: May 18, 2014 12:00 p.m.

Are you familiar with mash-ups? You know, those strange songs everyone sings these days where they just take two or more old songs and put them together?

You probably heard about seven on this week’s episode of Glee.

We’re going to try and do a little mash-up of our own in today’s column by talking about something hot and fresh in sports conversations while also congratulating graduates.

Get ready to be amazed.

If you’re the kind of person who keeps up with the NBA playoffs, then you’ve had a busy week.

If you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Clippers, then you’ve had a terrible week.

A terrible month, really.

Okay, perhaps just a terrible franchise history, but let’s try to keep it local on the timeline, shall we?

Now by know you all probably know my penchant for riffing on refs and I have no problem voicing my opinion when I disagree with officiating crews.

There were a couple of controversial calls to close out Game 5 of the Clippers/Thunder series this past week and the folks in LA were none too happy.

Admittedly, they were awful calls, but I can’t deny how much fun it was to see the Thunder close out that speed run in the final four minutes to take the win. It gave me a bit of a chuckle, so I guess I can give those refs a pass.

At the same time, I understand why the Clippers were angry. They felt like the game had been taken out of their hands.

I loved Doc Rivers’ comments after the game. He admitted his team’s mistakes and that they never should have let the Thunder get back into it, but he said that his team still had the right to win the game.

Just because his team let Oklahoma City get back into it late with some truly boneheaded mistakes, that wasn’t enough to take the game away from them.

Both teams still had to earn it. The Clippers had not given up their right at a fair outcome.

Here’s the reality to it all, though. Officials are human. They are fallible.

The zebras are going to mess up, and there’s not much we can do about it.

We can whine and complain, but it’s going to happen. The best we can hope for is that no human error outside the field of competition takes away our right to win the game.

And here’s the mash-up.

Graduates. Don’t let anyone take away your right to win the game.

I don’t mean to say that you are entitled to a darn thing, because you still have to earn it, but never let people say that you don’t deserve a shot.

Never let naysayers tell you that your dreams are any less valuable than their dreams, especially when those naysayers have likely given up on their dreams in favor of something less dangerous but less fulfilling.

Sure, your mistakes might put your dream in jeopardy, but that’s when you have to respond. That’s when you have to step up and own up to your mistakes and make amends for yourself.

If someone tries to take away your right to win the game, you look right at them and you take it back.

The only mistake that will end your dream is the one that you fail to respond to. The only person who has the right to end your pursuit is you.

But here’s the rub. Shouldn’t we define what it means to win the game?

If not, then we trick ourselves into believing that winning the game means monetary fulfillment and status. Sure, those things are nice, but that’s not what it means to win.

In fact, the pursuit of such things can often take you out of the game.

No, winning the game is about something more. Winning the game is about realizing that you are more than the things you own, to borrow and paraphrase a popular movie quote that I’m sure most of you will learn in college.

Winning the game is about living not for yourself, no, but living for something greater than yourself.

Winning the game means finding a way to help the world around you and love the people around you without giving up who you are.

Winning the game is about finding where you fit in, not by changing your essence, but by refining your skills and your persona into a person you are proud to be. That is how winning is done.

People will try to sell you on all sorts of vain pursuits and cheap thrills. Heck, cheap thrills can even be fun if only for a little while.

Whatever you do, and however you seek to enjoy the next few years, never let anyone take away your right to win the game.

Not even you.



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