Lessons for Writers from the Spurs’ NBA Championship

I am not a sports fan. Even when I was in the high school marching band and attended every football game (about a zillion years ago 🙂 ), I had no concept of what was happening on the field. Furthermore, I didn’t care. Sure, I wanted our team to win, but beyond that I had no interest in the game. The only reason I was there was to march in the half-time show. The rest of the game, I chatted with equally uninterested friends … or sat in the bleachers totally bored, wondering when the game would end.

The only time I ever pay any attention to sports is when the San Antonio Spurs are in the finals. Even as oblivious as I am to sports, I see what the team means to our city. As David Flores of the San Antonio Express News says: there is a love affair between San Antonio and the Spurs. I watched the last quarter of the game and got as excited as the rest of the city when the Spurs won their fourth NBA championship in nine years.

Listening to the commentary and the interviews after the game gave me insights into what writers (or anyone striving for success in any field) can learn from the Spurs.

  • Experience counts as much as, or more than, raw talent. Commentators along with players and coaches from both teams spoke about the poise that came from the Spurs’ experience – they are a mature team that has been in the championships before. No matter how much raw talent a writer has, she will get even better with experience.
  • Teamwork is critical to success. The Spurs have “The Big Three” star players, yet they could not have won the game without the other players. Each team member had to perform their role effectively for the team to succeed. No writer can succeed alone – he needs the help of mentors, teachers, agents, editors, publishers, booksellers, publicists, and others … including readers.
  • Perseverance leads to achievement in spite of obstacles. The season started badly for the Spurs, and no one expected them to have a good year. The Associated Press reported: “The Spurs weren’t the Spurs earlier this season, and Popovich, ever the task master, criticized his squad, calling it the worst defensive one he had coached.” Writers may receive numerous rejections and spend years learning their craft and submitting before they achieve success.
  • Nice guys don’t always finish last. “{Coach} Popovich is ingenious when it comes to adding players high in character and talent,” according to Jemele Hill, ESPN.com. Spurs players support their community and don’t make headlines for bad behavior. I don’t know anything about the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they were gracious in the interviews I heard after they lost the game, which leads me to believe they’re “nice guys” too. Writers don’t have to put success in their careers above being “nice guys” – mentoring other writers and contributing to their community doesn’t take away from their own achievements.

There are probably many more lessons to learn from the Spurs and the NBA championship, but for now I’m returning to my non-sports-fan writing life.

Congratulations, San Antonio Spurs!

[tags]San Antonio Spurs, NBA, writing[/tags]

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