For those who know me well, you know my passion for sports (a lot of sports). If you REALLY know me, you know what teams I root for. In 1993, I had the opportunity to go to my first San Antonio Spurs basketball game. After that, there was no turning back, they were my team! Even when they went through their lows and they were dreadful, they were the team I first saw so naturally I was going to be loyal.
When the young phenom, Tim Duncan came around in 1997, the franchise took a very interesting turn. The general manager at the time, Gregg Poppovich had taken over as the head coach and was committed to good defense, team work, and a commitment to excellence ALL the time. A guy like Tim (Timmy) Duncan exemplified those 3 elements so quite frankly, the team was built around those things and ultimately around him. He is a guy that will not gloat or boast about his successes, he just goes about his business. Doing it at a high level every night. Since there was a clear model in place for what the spurs wanted to do, they quickly won their first Championship in 1999.
With this model in place and players buying into "Pop's" coaching style, they experienced 4 championships from 1999-2007. The years they weren't winning the championship, they were competing in the round before the finals consistently. Simply put, there was consistency in their approach to the game of basketball so they were able to experience success year in and year out. They had gone from 2007-2013 without winning a championship, until today when they claimed their fifth title!
This was a very sweet victory because they were so close to winning it last year, but fell short. The finals this year were very much about gaining what should have been theirs in 2013. Tonight, they completed the mission.
Though some may think that 5 championships in the span of 15 years isn't a big deal, I think it is. If you look at the years they did not win a championship, they were competing and very much relevant. They are a true example of what great things you can achieve by being consistent in your approach.
My mentor always said to me, "Every time you practice your cello, that's your career". Meaning he wanted me to always approach the cello with great care, attention, and with the need to do your best. It helped me focus my practice sessions better, so that performances would be fun. He also was very insistent on good fundamentals, being pleasant to work with, and consistently delivering when given an opportunity. These are the things that would help me be successful at the cello. Turns out he was right.
Like the Spurs, once I bought into my mentor's system I began experiencing some great cello successes with my practicing and ultimately with my teaching and performing. Things felt easier to do on a consistent basis. I wasn't playing with the Dallas Symphony or Fort Worth Symphony, but I was able to play with smaller orchestras in the metroplex and west Texas. Not only that, I was able to play chamber music and make a living teaching and playing music, even to date. The consistency that my teacher insisted on, has made me successful at life.
Just like the spurs have used their coach's model to succeed, be relevant, and competitive for the past 17 years,the cello lessons I had with my teacher also served as practical tools to succeed and get through life. When processes or procedures are put into action, it's very important to embrace them and consistently hold yourself to them. You see what people don't hear enough is that life is tough. Nobody is going to coddle you for the rest of your life, you need to learn how to be organized and responsible. Holding yourself to these standards and having the ability to identify why you do what you do is important when it comes to finding out what you want to do with the rest of your life.
Find that right mold for you, buy into the system, and always hold yourself to a high standard. Like the 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs you can become successful if you're willing to work at it. Congratulations to my Spurs on their 5th title in franchise history.