Now, VCU stands for more than just Virginia Commonwealth University. The new meaning of the school's acronym is "very capable of upsets" after their basketball team's surprising win over top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA basketball tournament.
I'm not much of a sports fan. It goes back to painful childhood memories of not being the most athletic. My eighth grade class had nine guys, so the fellas made me the "odd man out" when we played basketball or football. Two years before that, I was the laughing stock of the inner-city sports summer camp that my mom sent me to here in Chicago. (The only sport I played well was soccer, out of the ten sports we experimented with.) So, it seemed like my life was going to be rather awkward from the get go.
What I have always been good at is writing. But nobody cheers a writer on. There's no marching band with a clever fight song celebrating grammar and style. And the beautiful ladies with poms poms won't start jumping in the chair over a good word play. All there is a person like me hoping to get the same attention for my talent that athletes get for theirs.
I believe that Shaka Smart felt the same way when he started coaching VCU. I'm sure some folks doubted that he could get attention for his gift because he didn't fit the mold of a college basketball coach. He was too young, played for a Division III school as an undergrad, and has a Master's degree in something outside of sports. But Coach Smart lived up to his last name this past weekend when he looked past the detractors and focused on his goal.
Most of you sports fans are probably going: You lost me, Zack. But that's because you took your eye off the ball. Coach Smart and I have not been expected to get recognition for what we do best. Yet, Smart and his team looked at their own expectations and ignored the naysayers. In sports, every team is only as good as their last game. In life, every person is only as good as their last unexpected victory. And it took a sports victory to get me to see the triumphs in my own life that I have overlooked.
I used to not watch sports because it reminded me too much of my athletic inability. But now I can watch any sport to feel inspired about any challenge I face in life. You must never compare yourself to others, but make yourself the greatest opponent you have. If you look past the opposition and keep your eye on the goal, you will eventually do things that folks would never expect that you could do.
Now, if you will excuse me... I have to move on to the next round of my life which will include a more active sports life. GO RAMS!
Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. Learn more