Confidence, Determination, Lessons on Perseverance, Perseverance, Resilience, Self-Belief

Underdog or Junkyard Dog – The 3 Things I Learnt from the Toronto Raptors

2019 NBA Champions

I am the first to the admit that I climbed aboard the Raptors Band Wagon very late in the series! After all I am not a Basketball enthusiast; still I maintained my position aboard the bandwagon and road it to a historic victory! A couple sports analysts viewed the Raptors as the underdog. You can understand why, when compared to the Golden State Warriors who have won six (6) NBA championships and three (3) of the last five (5) championships. But all things considered, were the Raptors really underdogs or true champions who fought like junkyard dogs – fierce; with nothing to lose but so much to gain and to prove? If you love a feel-good story; a story where the underdog triumphs then this Raptor’s story has all that and more. I can’t spew facts about the team or basketball firsts that happened in this championship or statistic about the team. After all that is what the NBA website, Wikipedia and Google are all for. What I can share are the three lessons I learnt from the 2019 NBA Champions.

First Lesson Calm Confidence during Chaos

Maintaining a cool confident spirit will get you through the chaos

Toronto was alive and buzzing with excitement because our team made the finals and the NBA Championship was actually within reach.  In game one the Raptors made their intentions very clear and we took the lead. What struck me as I watched the team play in game one and every other game after was how well they maintained their composure. They maintained that cool calm confidence especially during the times they trailed by a significant number. Their focus was unwavering, they were confident, they were positive in the face of criticism and they never gave up hope. It was truly inspiring to witness. In those nail-biting moments when there were mere seconds on the clock the Toronto Raptors always kept calm when it felt like chaos.

This is an important lesson for me:  when things don’t seem to be going my way and it feels like time is running out; getting frantic is not the answer. Maintaining a calm confidence about my abilities and resilience is the answer. Knowing that what ever happens I can never get it wrong or never get it done. *

The absolute and unrelenting faith in yourself will take you farther than the well wishes of others

Second Lesson Self-Belief in the Face of Doubters

The loss in game 5 was crushing, at least for me! How could we comeback from this? Surely the Warriors would not lose in the final game ever to be played at the Oracle. Surely, they would not lose to us a third time on their home turf. That only happens in the movies! Right?! The Golden State Warriors were going to come back to win the last 3 games – they did it in 2015 so they could absolutely do it again!  Well we all know how things turned out- cue Queen’s We Are The Champions.

I learnt a valuable lesson during this series. People will quietly doubt you, others will explicitly doubt you and some will be indifferent. The truth is, none of that matters if you believe in yourself! All the chatter and talk about your abilities and whether you can or will do it is noise; just noise! No one knows you better than you! The only limits you have are self-imposed! So go after what you want! Apply for that job, write that book, launch that website, start that business! Just do it! It takes great self-belief to beat the defending champions on their home turf not once, not twice but THREE TIMES!! I will say it louder for the people in the back – THE TORONTO RAPTORS BEAT THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS ON THEIR HOME TURF THREE TIMES! That’s the level of self-belief the team has that makes you stop, do a real self-evaluation and make the commitment to do what is necessary to nurture your own self-belief.

Life has no limitations except the ones you make.

Les brown
The fighting spirit is the winning spirit

Lesson Three The Fighting Spirit is the Winning Spirit

Fall down seven times get back up eight; this Japanese proverb highlights the true nature of resilience! The willingness to get up each time you are knocked down, the fighting spirit that says – you won’t beat me. I saw that spirit in each game even if the outcome wasn’t favorable for our team. The Raptors played their heart out and left everything on that court including blood – remember Vanvleet? They came to each game with a renewed sense of purpose, they possessed a spirit that would not allow to them give up but to keep fighting, keep pressing and keep believing!

The lesson I learnt from this amazing team is – the fighting spirit is the winning spirit! As long as I have fight left in me I can win. So even if things look bleak, even if the bandwagon has gotten lighter and the cheers have died down – as long as I can keep fighting I will win!

It truly was a pleasure to witness this historic event and to feel the energy in the city! I watched two great teams play excellent basketball. I am forever a fan of this sport! It is always great to be reminded of the unifying power of sports! More importantly than enjoying great basketball I took away three lessons or reminders of three great lessons I should always keep close. What lesson(s) did you learn from the 2019 NBA Champions?

Photo by Michael Tipton on Flickr
Photo by Sam Burriss on Unsplash 
Photo by Shalom Mwenesi on Unsplash  
Photo by Denise Mwaniki on Unsplash 
*Paraphrased from Abraham Hicks

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