The idea for this one came from my friend Tom during the Celtics/Bucks game last night. My buddies and I were in the group chat, talking about Pat Connaughton and Grant Williams starring in their roles, and how that made them incredibly impactful in what was the best 7 game series I think I have ever seen.
Pat was the third best player for the Bucks, possibly the second, throughout the series and did he do anything miraculous or outside of his role? With Khris Middleton out, it was next man up. Pat answered the call and most of what he brought you'll never see in the stat sheet. He didn't even start. But, he hit timely 3's (catch high, keep high), rebounded, defended, converted at the hoop, made crucial plays and finished each game. How about Grant Williams? Did he take any shots outside his normal selection last night? He went off in Game 7 doing nothing more than what he does every game.
I could probably write about this entire blog about the role players in the series and their significance, but one thing that stands out about Pat is the fact that he's rock steady. He doesn't over do it. He plays his role. Whether he scores 20 or 2, he's a great teammate and a huge factor to the Bucks success. For the record, I'll never quantify the importance of a role player with a word like "just", e.g. "he just plays his role" or "he's just rock steady", because that dramatically understates the vitality of the "role player". Consistency is hard - incredibly hard - whether you're an NBA superstar or a CPA and playing your role is vital because we all have a role to play. In big moments, we don't have to play "hero ball". Playing your role makes the pieces to the puzzle fit together.
Often, we confuse what we want to do, with what we need to do. The general consensus is that we all want to make the big shot, be the superstar, be the hero, get the credit, but is that what your team, family, program or organization needs you to do? Consistently starring in your role is vastly underrated and will correlate to more success than it gets credit for. Pat and I actually spoke about this in the past - there's something to be said about playing your role on a winning team, in a winning franchise... and by the way, being the "superstar" is a role and if you are wanting more in that role (or any) then that is an individual agenda. Sacrificing the want of you for the need of your team is what will lead to success. As the old Harry Truman saying goes- "It's amazing what you can accomplish if no one cares who gets the credit".
It sounds simple but often high pressure situations, both in game and in life, make us feel like we need to do more than we usually do. But, the fact is that in our biggest moments we need to star in our roles. Do what we normally do with precision and focus - I've always taught my teams to be bigger than the moment. Don't let the situation dictate your effort or focus - and it's equally true in the game and in life. Sometimes, the hero play is doing what is asked of you daily. And when the big moments arise, sticking to that plan is what will lead to success whether you're a coach, parent, teacher, accountant, athlete or whoever. Be a star at what your team needs you to do.
I've said this before, but the sport to life parallels are real. Being a husband (8 years next month, Meg) a father and a friend, this philosophy has helped me. Sticking to the script has made me reliable to the people that I love. Putting the team first is key to finding your role. Being disciplined and starring in that role will yield more success for everyone, not just you. Isn't that what we all want? It should be.