Green Grass


Many of you have heard the old cliché, “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence”. Whatever brilliant person first uttered these words had a good point with great depth. The saying refers to neighbors who look at the yard next door and feel like it’s better than theirs – that it’s greener and more lush, and likely that it’s just so easy for the neighbor to keep their grass manicured and green.

What this saying is warning us about is the fact that what others have or other people’s situations aren’t always better than our own. And the recent rebuttal to this old cliché is, “the grass is greener where you water it”.

All of this started flooding my mind on my run today. In the AAU realm, so many players think that the other guys have it better. They get treated better, their team is better, the other coach is better, the other guys get more gear – especially when things are tough and players aren’t getting what they want. Most of the time the response is . . . “I’m going to switch teams”.
There is a HUGE problem with this and it is creeping into our younger generation more than ever. Instead of players trying to be a part of the solution when things are difficult, they just look for the easiest route – play for another team. No one is forcing our young players to fight through adversity and difficult situations, and stay committed to making whatever team they are on the best they can be.
The real issue is COMMITMENT, or lack of it I suppose. The committed coaches and parents of the past seem to be a bit of a dying breed. (But for those that are out there, keep fighting the good fight!)
Now I understand that there are situations at times that need to be addressed, and in a few cases there is no great solution for a particular player, and at the end of their commitment to the team then they should be free to seek out other options. But what I see more often is that players and parents are looking for the greener grass of another team just after a tough tournament! I mean, how impatient can our times be?!?

The hard thing to stress to our Youth is that good things take time – good things have to be tested and overcome the struggle and difficult stages of the journey. It’s often said that our youth is a generation of wanting instant gratification; to this point I would agree. But I would hotly argue that this is because of the impatience of today’s parents – the instant gratification is for the parents!! If the parents don’t stress to their kids that good things take time and you have to work for it, and it won’t be easy – then they are setting kids up for failure. When these same kids hit adversity as they get older, they won’t know how to deal with it on their own, because they haven’t been through it and taught how.

And for adults, I’d be interested to see how many more companies would be better, how many more friendships would grow, and how many more marriages would thrive if we would just honor our COMMITMENT.

The problem with a commitment is that we normally make them when things are great. You’ve just been offered a great salary for a new job – sure, make a commitment cause things are great. You’ve just hit it off with a new friend and you’ve got a lot in common – sure, make a commitment cause things are going well. You’re so in love with your soon to be spouse – sure, make a commitment cause things have never been better!

But then it hits . . . The boss is coming down hard on you, or you’re not hitting your numbers – maybe there’s greener grass. You heard that your new friend said some things about you, and you’re hurt – maybe there’s greener grass. After 4 long years (or 10 or 20), your spouse isn’t who you thought they were, or you’re just not happy – maybe there’s greener grass.

You see, when we make the COMMITMENT, we don’t often look ahead to trouble times. And that’s why it’s called a COMMITMENT – you’ve gotta stick it out to get the good stuff. I mean good grief; we might as well call some of our commitments a hedge. “So if this thing goes well then we’ll stick it out, but as soon as things get rough we’ll call it quits”. Nothing great quits when things get tough. Because if the team quits, the marriage quits, or whatever it may be quits – then it doesn’t ever reach the standard of greatness.

Coaches, Parents, Leaders – let’s fight to honor our commitments and fight to teach our youth that if they look for solutions and stay committed, then they at least have a chance at greatness. It is so true, “The grass is not always greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it”.

This is a call to action. Stop looking for the easy road. Be a part of the solution to whatever team you are on. Take care of the things that are in your control – water your grass.

Let’s give our best!