Why Steph Curry Says, “We Have to Get Better”

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How is it that beautiful people don’t think they’re photogenic? How is it that wise people always know to hold their comments until the end of the discussion? And how is it that great athletes always say they have room for improvement?

Wardell Stephen Curry II and the Golden State Warriors just lost for the first time this season. They are now 24-1 and have set all kinds of records as they defend their title en route to winning their second straight NBA Crown (a foregone conclusion?) And in the middle and at the front and pushing from behind of this great team is their leader, Steph Curry, the wonder boy whiz kid warrior who looks 21 but plays well beyond his years.

The great ones of the world are great because they are wholly humble and aptly arrogant. They have the unique and perfect combination of charm and chutzpah, grit and glamor, spunk and sparkle that the rest of us admire and adore. The great ones are measurably meek and mild and yet ridiculously rich like a Rothschild. They don’t just have money, they have a mission with means and motive. They know that they are faster and smarter and stronger than everyone else in the room. And they also know that they aren’t supposed to say it. At least not on camera.

Steph Curry said this of his team: “We have to get better.” This was after the Warriors beat Boston IN BOSTON in double overtime to reach 24-0. The very next night, because of scheduled back-to-back games, they fell one short of going undefeated on a seven game road trip as they lost to the last place Milwaukee Bucks. And the only reason they lost is because they ran out of gas trying to play and perform and produce at such a high level for so long.

We all need to get better. That’s a fact. It’s just that the great ones openly admit their faults and failures and don’t make any excuses for them. The great ones know they’re good but they also know that good isn’t great, and it’s certainly not good enough. And the great ones know that their mania need not lead to hysteria. Winning a game is great, but winning GAMES is even better. Getting better means that you have to be mildly manic. You have to play wildly under control and aggressively passive, in a good way.

In other words, “Let The Game Come To You.”

So let’s take notes from Steph Curry and the Warriors. And let’s not forget Cam Newton (whose team is STILL undefeated at 12-0) who are the trendy but tempered titans that know they are great, but also know they can be even better.

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch: A.K.A., One Game At A Time

Wreck It Ralph

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  Matthew 6:34, New Living Translation.

There’s a big difference and a fine line between arrogance and confidence, between insolence and deference, and between brazen boldness and courageous chivalry.  True champions may be audacious, but they are also intrepid.  By faith they know that they are going to win, but they also fear that they are just as likely to lose.  Such is the spin and the spiral of sports. And such may be the case of the 2014 Washington Nationals Baseball team.

The Washington Nationals are 75 and 55, are first place in the National League East, have the 2nd best record in all of baseball, just came off of a 10 game win streak, and yet probably have the longest odds to win the World Series. So lest we get too overjoyed, let’s not get too overworked. Yes we’re excited, but if these same Nationals don’t win like we’d like them to, we won’t get too overwrought.  Yes they are playing their best baseball, are peaking at the right time, and don’t seem to be showing any signs of failing or faltering, but, guess what? You guessed it: there’s a big “BUT” coming.  And the “but” is that we’ve learned not to count our chickens before they hatch.

A Greek fabulist (someone who writes fables) named Aesop, said to have lived from 620 to 560 BCE, is credited with using this expression. He has several written fables attributed to his name; today, these are collectively known as Aesop’s Fables. One of them is titled The Milkmaid and Her Pail, and there’s a line from the tale that reads:

 “Ah, my child,” said the mother, “Do not count your chickens before they are hatched.”

The life “boat” of a Christian sails through irony and incongruity, through paradox and parallels, and through tension and friction.  This stress and strain is the incongruity of confidence and calm; it’s the clash between coolness and conviction.  And somewhere in between these sentiments and sensations lies the path of a mature, maximized man and woman who believes and trusts in God.

The spiritual tie-in is that God gives us strength for today and He is also our bright hope for tomorrow.  In sports-speak, this means that we are to play to win because it’s better than playing not to lose, and that’s the life all athletes live.  We are to live with poise and with power, with dignity and with gravity, knowing full well that our God has promised us victory and valor, vindication and validation.

Victory always comes and only comes after every villain is vanquished, and every foe is defeated. Victory comes, and we can count on it, yet ours is to wait patiently for it.

So let’s route for the Nationals and the Nats fans.  There’s a lot of baseball left to play, so hopefully the Nat’s take it one game at a time, and don’t count their chickens before they hatch.  They have a shot at going deep into the playoffs, and bringing a championship to this trophy starved town.