Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beware the Jimmer

This is Tony.  Bet you didn't know both of us wrote on this blog did you?  Jeri Lin is more creative in her writing and updates everyone on our goings on.  This post is a speech I gave at Toastmasters last week.  I call the Speech "Beware the Jimmer."  I gave the speech on the Wednesday before the NCAA Tournament began.  Enjoy.
In the next 24 hours, you will make your most important decisions of the year so far.  My question for you is, "How are you going to fill out your bracket?"  Before you get too far, let me give you a warning.  Beware the Jimmer. 

If you don't know who Jimmer Fredette is, let me tell you.  He is the shooting guard for the Brigham Young University Cougar basketball team.  He leads the nation in scoring at 28.5 points per game.

He loves to shoot the open shot.  And if he's open at 35 feet, he'll take that shot.  At BYU they say, "One if by land, two if by sea, three if by Jimmer."  He also love to score inside.  If the laws of physics say no, Jimmer says yes.

But let me tell you the tale of two Jimmers.  I remember watching BYU basketball last year and thinking that Jimmer was good, but he took too many shots and didn't make his team great.  He took crazy shots and seemed like a ball hog.  This year, Jimmer shoots even more.  But basketball isn't a democracy.  The best player should take the most shots.  The big difference is that this year the team is better. 

I have three lessons I have learned from watching BYU basketball this year.

One.  Leadership matters.  No team or organization can be excellent without top caliber leadership.  The best leaders raise the bar of performance and their team responds.

Two.  Leaders need a strong supporting cast.  No matter the skills of a leader, the team needs to have the skills to complement the abilities of the leader.

Three.  It is important to win in the right way.  Brandon Daives famously was suspended from the BYU basketball team for violating the school honor code.  Overlooked in the matter is that Daives turned himself in.  That takes a tremendous amount of character.  BYU had the integrity built in to its culture to stick to the code and suspend Daives, but Daives had internalized the integrity of the culture and reported his own mistakes, knowing what the result would be. 

In your own life you need to internalize these lessons.  In your community, and especially in your family, you need to be a leader who raises the bar and challenges others to be better.  Build up those around you and help them become excellent in all they do.  Most importantly, win in the right way. 

I'll end with a statement from Karl G. Maeser, the second principal of BYU's forerunner institution: Brigham Young Academy.  "I have been asked what I mean by 'word of honor.' I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls--walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground--there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I'd die first!"

Oh, and on my bracket, Jimmer wins every game.

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