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One of my favourite stories to come out of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA Championship is that of their coach, Nick Nurse.

After graduating college in 1989, he worked in a range of coaching positions across Europe, college and semi-pro leagues.

In 2005, he accepted the job to be an assistant coach for the Oklahoma Storm. It paid $43 a day. To earn it, he had to coach, wash the uniforms and drive the team to games.

Now, after 15 teams across five countries and 30 years after his coaching journey began, he is the coach of the 2019 NBA Champions.

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Two-time Olympic gold medal footballer, Ally Wambach reminds us in her book, Wolfpack, to rush or point.

The premise is simple, but wonderful.

When someone scores a goal, rush to them in celebration.

Get there first, create a culture of celebrating the success of others, give them a hug or a high-five, tell them how good they are.

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I was watching an interview with one of the Boston Celtics’ players last night and in the background there was a message on the wall that simply said, “Every possession matters.”

It’s a great principle that doesn’t just apply to basketball, so let me encourage you today to take advantage of every opportunity, because:

Every interaction matters.

Every email matters.

Every single moment of every single day matters.

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The NBA season started today and in the first game of the season, after young Boston star Jayson Tatum started complaining about a dodgy call, his coach, Brad Stevens yelled out to him, “Hey, next play!”

It’s great leadership and a great reminder to us all that there will be times when things don’t go our way.

Not every decision will go in our favour.

You will make mistakes.

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Marathon runners often talk about finding their second wind.

It’s that moment when they think that they can’t go for much longer, but somehow their body gets another burst of energy and they are able to keep going.

Are you tired?

Do you feel  as though you can’t go for much longer?

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I don’t claim to know what hurdles are in front of you, but I do know that they are there.

It would be nice if the track ahead was smooth and without obstacles, but that’s rarely the case.

So what do you do with the hurdles in front of you?

Do you consider them too difficult, making them seem higher than they really are and giving up before you’ve really tried?

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There’s nothing quite like the anticipation of a big race.

The runners line up, the crowd becomes silent and for a moment everything pauses until…

Bang!!!!!

And in a flurry of arms and legs, the athletes propel themselves around the track.

Today, I want to ask you who fires your starting pistol?

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“It’s hard to beat moments like this, and it’s hard to beat teams that act like this.”

Last night, Reece Conca played his 100th game for the Richmond Football Club.  He’s a popular club-man, best known within the club for his “Conca cuddle” celebrations with team-mates after they have kicked a goal.

It’s been a long journey to get to 100 as he has had terrible luck with injury throughout his career.

And then, 15 minutes into his milestone game, he suffered a dislocated ankle that left him writhing in agony.

As a fan, it was hard to watch such a fine young man suffer such pain and heartbreak, but what happened next was both inspiring and heart warming.

After he was loaded onto the stretcher to be taken from the ground and off to hospital, every single team-mate who was on the ground came up to support and acknowledge their fallen soldier.

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Before you make the game-winning shot, you’ve got to take the game-winning shot.

Before you take the game-winning shot, you’ve got to have the confidence to take it.

Before you have the confidence, you’ve got to develop the skills required to support your belief.

Before you develop the skills, you’ve got to train and train and train so that you have the physical conditioning required to get yourself in a position to shoot the ball.

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After graduating from the little known American University, basketball guard Andre Ingram went undrafted by the NBA, so he did what many other players do and plied his craft in the G League, hoping that he could continue to improve his skills and eventually make it to the big time.

That was 10 years ago!

10 years of dreaming.

10 years of praying.

10 years of hard work.

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