Editors Note – Every so often CIACsports.com will share information about a book, movie, television program or other production that we found particularly compelling or enjoyed. There will always be some connection to athletics, and will generally have a scholastic sports connection.
Well, this recurring CIACsports.com feature has not been quite as recurring as we envisioned. Not only that, but this particular link doesn’t really fit the previously-mentioned criteria, but it seemed worth sharing.
By now many sports fans have probably seen the video of Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City accepting his 2014 KIA NBA Most Valuable Player Award. If not, it is well worth the time to click on that link and take the 20-plus minutes to check it out. The heartfelt, emotional address has been widely praised, and rightful so, as a wonderful example of an athlete showing genuine emotion and graciousness. What makes this interesting and relevant from a high school sports perspective is that it seems in many ways to personify some of the benefits of interscholastic and other after-school activities.
Maybe this is a case of chasing shadows and finding a connection to high school sports is tenuous at best. Yet what stood out in his speech was singling out each teammate. The obvious emotion and good feeling he shares for each teammate, and the way they clearly have impacted him is the essence of what it means to be part of a team. It is a group of people, brought together by circumstances, working towards something and learning from each other. That doesn’t always mean getting along or that every member of the team is going to be a best friend, but even those conflicts and tensions can provide a learning experience. Similarly Durant acknowledges the way he has been challenged and prodded to improve by his coaches and respects the way they have both pushed and supported him speaks volumes about what being a part of a team can provide.
Obviously a professional team is going to have a different dynamic than a high school athletic team. These men are professionals whose whole life revolves around sport and they are together with far greater regularity. The message and the delivery of Duran’ts speech still illuminates everything good about athletics and what it can do for the individual. Check out the link, and ruminate on what you have taken from your athletic competition.