February 9th, 2014 | Uncategorized
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines luck as “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” I have found the term lucky and unlucky to be used rather loosely over here in Ireland. I know the term luck is normally associated with the Irish, hence the phrase which gave us the greatest Disney Channel Original Movie, The Luck of the Irish. I decided to look up the origin of the phrase and as it turns out it actually comes from Irish-Americans being uber successful during the gold and silver rushes of the 19th century.
Where am I going with this? So I was reffing an under 13 boys game this past Saturday and I noticed that everytime a player missed a shot or turned the ball over the coach said “unlucky” or “hard luck”. Now at this age I understand it is important to continue to encourage as these are the formative years of basketball. However, I have noticed that this continues to the latter years and even on my Titans team the phrase is used way too often. I am a believer of hard work pays off and that nothing should ever be given to you, just like making a three pointer does not come from luck but rather countless hours practicing in the gym. Granted there are situations and instances where the phrase can apply but I think we are doing players in their teens a disservice if we allow them to believe the next shot will go in because how often can you be “unlucky”.
I had a conversation with my teammate Emmet, who played on the Irish team his whole life, wondering if I was just being an arrogant American or if he sees where I am coming from. We both agreed that the term is thrown around way too often but there does not need to be negative repurcussions for a turnover or bad shot. Instead, I suggest that coaches encourage the players to make a better decision the next time down. I know parents or teachers wouldn’t say that a student was “unlucky” if they failed an exam, but instead of berating them they would encourage them to be more conscious of how they prepare for the next time. We are the only ones who can decide our own fate and I think the players would benefit both on and off the court the sooner they realize that.