The Rookie’s Guide to Being Your Best

Did you know that rookies could qualify as expert life coaches?

It’s true. You see, up until this year I put so much focus on the inexperience of a rookie, that I was missing out on some of their most powerful traits.

Now before the non-sports fans start yawning or yelling things like “I HATE SPORTS BALL!”, hear me out for a minute. These lessons aren’t just good for sports fans. They’re good for all of us.

Many of you know that I’m a huge Utah Jazz fan. Like, if they were a breakfast cereal I’d use a motorized spoon to shovel it into my mouth for every meal. This year the Jazz are a very young team, and although there have been some serious growing pains, there have been some real shining moments too — especially from some of the young guns.

Here are four life lessons I’ve picked up as I’ve watched the rookies develop this season.

Lesson 1: Smile

One of the traditions for the Jazz players is that they buy the pinkest, most tween backpacks they can find and make the rookies use them as their carry-on luggage for the entire season. Some popular choices include Hannah Montana, Hello Kitty, and iCarly. Few things are funnier than a seven foot tall pro athlete wearing a pink backup that could potentially double as a coin purse.

It would be really easy for guys who make millions of dollars a year to think they’re too cool or let their egos get in the way and refuse to wear the packs, but every rookie on the team carries his stuff in style with a smile.

It’s like my grandma always used to say:

“Smile, it will make people wonder what you’ve been up to.”

Lesson 2: Get Educated

Whether you study at Oxford or the School of Hard Knocks, it’s important to pick up some new information every single day. The movement I want to be involved in is Occupy My Brain, and I want to invite all sorts of cool information to the party.

Rookies spend an awful lot of time in the film room learning complex systems simply because at some point they might get a chance for some playing time. Every day they let pass without a study session, is another day that a competitor can gain an advantage.

More importantly than that, rookies understand that even if the knowledge they gain today doesn’t give them an edge right now, sometime down the line their time spent studying will pay off in a big way.

Lesson 3: Be Patient

Rookies know that there’s a waiting period before they get a chance to be on the ESPN Top 10. Even so, they work hard every day. A mature rookie doesn’t complain. He “Does Work” as Rob and Big would say, even though he knows in the back of his mind that his opportunity probably won’t arrive tomorrow, or even the next day.

Patience is a virtue. Patience brings good luck. It is often so found in humans, but, never in a duck. – The Well in Daffy Duck’s Fantastic Island

Rookies are the part of the human population that this quote talks about. I know it’s not talking about me. Maybe I’m part duck?

Few things are more frustrating than feeling like I’m doing everything in my power to succeed, and not getting the results that I want. I’ve felt that way with weight loss, business, and even raising a family. We’re an “On Demand” society and waiting for the payoff is harder than it ever has been (but oh so worth it). And let’s not forget that sometimes the journey itself is the reward.

A solid rookie is anxious to get into the game, but has enough confidence in his own ability to know that it’s only a matter of time before he get in the game.

Lesson 4: Make Your Minutes Count

Here’s your chance. You’ve been sitting on the bench for the last 30 games and one of the starters just went down with a nasty injury. How do you respond?

When a rookie finally does get to show what he’s made of, he has to take advantage of that opportunity. The young guys for the Jazz are doing just that this season.

Time is the one thing that we can’t get more of. Every day we have a chance to come off the bench and make an impact. We can influence people in more ways than we’ll ever know. If we do all the ground work, we’ll be blowing away the home crowd in no time.

Sometimes making our minutes count isn’t always about closing that business deal or fitting into those fancy jeggings. Sometimes making our minutes count means making the things we choose to do a priority, rather than the things we’re supposed to do.

Read this post from MizFitonline for some more insight on priorities.


Because I can remember when I was 18, a group of 18 year old kids is the last place I’d think to look for inspiration to be my best self. Yet, we were able to find it. Apparently kids are growing up faster than they used to. Or college is so boring that kids are choosing to mature independently instead of going to classes? Whatever the case, we can find lessons about life literally anywhere if we’re looking hard enough. Except for maybe clowns. Although clowns do make me feel better about myself immediately when I see them. Hmmm…

Have a great weekend everybody! Enjoy it with the people you like most.


  1. says

    look at that! a surprise linklove as I clicked over here to learn how to be my best.
    I agree with all of what you said and wanna shout PATIENCE about 349039309 times a day around here.
    at myself
    at my girl
    (at my inbox :-))

    being the best anything take patienceworkandpatience.

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