Basketball Club in Georgia can teach us about leading through a crisis

by | Mar 5, 2020 | Personal Sustainability

In a world of what you can’t do, what can you do?

Of few establishments even open these days, at Elite Hoops Basketball Club (EHB) in Chamblee, GA, you can still hear balls bouncing off the hardwood. EHB is pressing on both responsibly and admirably in a time of great upheaval.

While skills clinics and group trainings have been postponed, 1 on 1 coaching sessions and shooting cage rentals remain open. The message: We will continue to follow all the recommended guidelines and do our part while educating others AND we will remain open in a way that is safe and still provides aspiring ballplayers a place to practice and improve. The short message: Life has challenges, we are here to meet them. Are you with us?

When I walked in the door this past Saturday for my son’s 1on1 lesson, I was inspired and impressed. While one coach was cleaning and disinfecting parts of the gym, another was sitting at the front desk to greet players and family members who were willing to get out and press on with their lives. Of course, this was not in their job descriptions, but it’s time for all to pitch in, contribute, and keep life as normal as possible, especially for kids. There was a ball rack for used balls and my son was reminded to wash his hands during breaks and return any used balls to the rack where they would be cleaned, disinfected, and moved to a clean rack. Social distancing was easier due to the reduced traffic, but balls were bouncing, shots were going up, cones laid out, and the show was going on.

Lee Miller, the Founder, has found a way to uphold his small business and sports team values in a way that is shining through the darkness, ensuring that Covid-19 has nothing on EHB ’20 and we all can do our part, even in a pandemic to address and cure the parts of ourselves that yearn for a return to normalcy and search for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Lee’s travel team director, Cam Dailey, was onsite when I was there, pushing a mop and bucket when he normally is pushing kids to become their best. What a great example of teamwork and doing what it takes to win, even when that role needs to shift to do so. In addition to how all of the staff members and coaches were pitching in and supporting in different ways, it’s even more about how they were showing up. Cam had a smile on his face doing what he was doing, and we both acknowledged and discussed what was good in all of this and sharing our own stories of the experiences we were noticing during this outbreak.

It was that discussion and what I experienced at my 15-year old son’s basketball club on Saturday that really inspired me. Here are my takeaways:

  1. When people are constantly saying what they can’t do, it may not be easy, but it is possible to find out what you can do
  2. Find ways to contribute that are outside your normal role – Mike Robbins, corporate speaker, reminds us that our role is what we do, but our job is to help the team win. How does your role need to shift right now to do your job at work and at home?
  3. Games are won in the 2nd half – wherever we are in this cycle, persistence and effort, especially under times of great uncertainty and pressure is what makes champions
  4. As they say when dribbling in basketball, “look up,” we are noticing families walking together, people acknowledging people, and phones being put down to lift others’ spirits. How can you look up right now to contribute, smile, donate, ask for help, and help others?
  5. Success is not what you accomplish, it’s what you overcome – can you use this opportunity to create new behaviors or rituals to reach even greater heights of individual, team, family, or community health, physically and emotionally? Family board games, watching movies and doing yoga with my wife, playing a new sport and running with my kids have been very special during this time
  6. Connection – tools like Zoom and Microsoft teams are pulling more people together via video and apps like Houseparty are surging for video chats. How can this time better enable us to connect, see more literal eye to eye and ensure we are not socially isolating?

My biggest takeaway is an appreciation for life and a reminder for all of us to step up for what we care most about. So, a letter of thanks to Lee and all those at EHB for upholding your values, leading in this crisis, and being there in times when you are needed the most. You are doing it, and in the process reminding us to consider…what can you do?

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