June was indeed an exhilarating month for sports fans and a faintly tiring one for me. For the first time in my life, I actually sat through a full four-day golf tournament as well as witnessed the entire six-game NBA Finals in front of the idiot box, which till this day I’m not sure if the term refers to the mostly awful programmes coming through it or the person staring at it.
While the wife was drooling over the glaring white sheep on the grass of New Zealand, the cat dreaming of being its’ shepherd, and the neighbours getting ready for the morning traffic congestion, I was remorsefully snacking away in front of the flat-screen television rooting for athletes at the other side of the world.
The bad; it probably cost me two weeks of treadmill and crunches to lose the cholesterols. The good; it proved to be a great conversation starter with business clients. I never realised that so many corporate managers and local entrepreneurs out there were passionate sports fans.
Slightly behind the remarkable story on the greens that we will yak about later, was of Dallas Mavericks overcoming vast physical and betting odds to win their first NBA title. Wen, who runs a magazine retail business and claims to have literally rubbed some good fortune onto Dirk Nowitzki’s hands when they bumped into each other at KLIA earlier in the year, believed that it was all down to heart and teamwork.
The Mavs were faced with the much younger Miami Heats and supremely athletic superstar trio of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. They were playing away at Miami, facing raucous fans, and they were visibly tired after a long season.
“But they always believed in themselves and stuck together as a team even when the rest of the world said that they could never pull it off. When Dirk was struggling throughout most part of the decisive game, his teammates still kept giving him the ball. They knew that he would come good eventually,” pointed out Wen.
NBA Finals’ Most Valuable Player Nowitzki did come good as he scored some crucial points at the end of the game to grab the historic win. Yet, it was the constant references of “team”, “playing for the same goal”, “putting in the hours in training”, and “believing in each other” coming out from the whole team that won the hearts of millions watching across the globe.
It is this notion of never giving up and working as a cohesive unit that marketing director Aaron wants to instil in his own sales team. He explained, “People are often motivated by sports achievements. Though the game excites them, it is actually the psychological and mental strength of these athletes that inspire each of us. Whether it is Nicol David, Lee Chong Wei, Lionel Messi or Tiger Woods, we all aspire to be like them in some ways.”
Speaking of Tiger, while like me he’s comfortably seated at home with his leg up on the sofa – but unlike me, he still earns US$105 million doing it – he’s throne on the golf course is now arguably under threat… from a baby-faced Northern Irish golfer.
The 22-year-old Rory McIlroy’s win at last month’s U.S. Open was astonishing to say the least. Vying for only his third professional golf title, he showed amazing composure throughout the four days. Of course, everyone was talking about his well-documented collapse at both the U.S PGA and the U.S. Masters a few months back and how his youth would let him down once again.
“Instead, that was exactly was drove him on,” said sports retail entrepreneur Sega, “and motivated him this time around. He most likely held his nerves this time around only because he had experienced the pain before.”
Rory’s feat is a certain hole-in-one at business conversations for the coming weeks ahead. If your client plays golf, breaking down every detail of his effortless swing would guarantee you at least 20 minutes of face time. If she doesn’t, then associating how the young golfing prodigy putted his way past ghastly experiences to go on to break 12 U.S Open records to business management philosophy would definitely earn you valuable time in the crowd.
And if the conversation still draws a blank, then simply quote motivational speaker Tom Krause’s “There are no failures; just experiences and your reactions to them,” or Henry Ford’s affirmation that “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” You can tell him or her that you read these in between your Golf Channel marathon.