Monday, June 17, 2019
How Sports and Our Money are Linked
Just 4 days ago my favorite team playing in one of my favorite sports won the championship. The Toronto Raptors brought home the NBA title after 24 years of coming up short and for the first time, the championship will reside north of the border. If you follow sports you know that this historic run brought together a whole nation, 37 million strong united behind one team. While I will not pretend to think sports are immensely important in life, one cannot deny how cool it was to follow them on their epic run to the finals. I have been following the Raptors since they came into the league in 1995, so for me, the moment was very satisfying. I wanted to take some time to speak about sports and money and show that they can go hand in hand. I grew up playing sports, namely basketball, baseball, and hockey, and feel that they did prepare me for life in a way that I wouldn’t have had if I had not participated. Today I will show you the link between sports and our money to illustrate the importance of sports in everyday life. Let’s get started.
Practice makes perfect
I remember growing up and dreading the 5 AM practices at the local rink. I dreaded the skate lines, practicing crossover skating and stopping on a dime. You’ll never know burning in your knees until you have done power skating drills for 2 hours straight. One thing is for sure is that I would have been a better player had I taken practice a little more seriously. The best players in sports always compete at a high level, even when the lights aren’t shining bright on them. Michael Jordon, Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, Sidney Crosby will all torch you, mainly their teammates, in practice just as hard as they torch the other team on game night. When it comes to your money the same is true. You must put in the reps. You must practice being wealthy before you are wealthy. This includes the monthly budget practice. Wealthy people treat their money the same as if they weren’t wealthy. It is this dedication to their craft, growing wealth, that allows them to shine when the big moments happen, like retirement.
Teamwork makes the dream work
The more you go up the ladder of wealth, the more you see that properly building it requires a team. At its base level, wealth requires you and your partner to be fully on board with the plan. I speak about it all the time, how couples need to work together for it to work. In sports, it is obvious that you cannot win it all if you are not a solid team. On paper, the Golden State Warriors were dramatically better than Toronto. At its base level, however, Toronto played better team basketball on both sides of the court, offense, and defense. When you develop wealth, a team of advisors will need to be there to help including accountants, financial planners, mortgage specialists and even lawyers. Understand how these types of people can help with the expertise that you don’t have. Wealth is a family endeavor and sports is no different.
Bear with me on this point, as I will try to make it as clear as possible. Many people frown at the size of sports contracts. They will say: “Why does he get paid that much to put a ball in a hoop, or a puck in a net?” I think it is important to understand the nature of capitalism when making such comments. While if made to choose, I would probably agree that players are paid too much given the importance of what they do, I also understand the nature of the beast. It is important to know that these players would not be paid this much if they did not generate more than that in revenue for their owners. I personally believe everyone should strive to earn as much as possible and get as close as possible to earn what they deserve. Sadly, the capitalist system makes that difficult. The person making your pizza logically should make more than the owner of the pizza store, as he is the one doing all the work. Sports is one of the fairest systems of income that exists, as players get paid massive amounts, yet only a fraction of what the owner makes. We must assume that if the owners could get away with paying players less, they would. The same goes for your job. The fact that players have staged strikes, battled and fought to get these high salaries should serve as an inspiration to all of us to try and get paid as much as we deserve or close to it. There was a time when players got paid peanuts and had to work jobs in the offseason. Those days are over. I personally will never laud someone for trying to get paid as much as possible. I think we should all feel that way.
Preparation is important
Getting your reps is very important for athletes. So is the behind the scenes preparation. This includes fitness, nutrition, and mental acuity. They revolve their whole lives around a regiment that allows them to excel on gameday. For the average person, making sure you live a well-balanced life will go a long way to help you with your money. Health and wealth are very closely linked, with the least wealthy people often being the least healthy. Mental health and wealth are also closely linked, as the added stress of being poor deteriorates one’s mental state. Knowledge goes a long way in both sports and money. The best athletes become students of the game, diving into every bit of information they can get their hands on. In terms of money, those who make a point of learning as much as possible are often the most successful. What you do before game time is often more important than what happens in the actual game.
Pedigree doesn’t matter
What if I told you that most millionaires did not inherit their wealth? Most of them built their wealth through wise decisions, hard work, and smart planning. This past NBA final taught us that being a champ doesn’t necessarily mean you will be the champ. The Warriors came into these finals have gone to the past 4 championships in a row. They had won 3 of them and the Raptors entered these finals not even have made it to the championship ever in their existence. While logically the team that had been so successful in the recent past should win, the upstart team with very little experience was able to pull it off. Just because you have never seen wealth, doesn’t mean you cannot achieve wealth. Our society is loaded with rags to riches stories and everyday millionaires. In your neighborhood, there are people who live modestly but have a solid net worth. It is all there for the taking and being the first generation does not preclude you from money success.
Making mistakes is not fatal, so long as you learn from them
Toronto won the NBA finals by a total of 4 games to 2. Sadly, for them this series could have been over in only four games had they not let games 2 and 5 slip away. During both those games, they had a lead late and allowed Golden State to get back into the game a pull out a victory. Sports is littered with comeback stories. Players that couldn’t seem to get it right, finding a way to pull through eventually. When it comes to your money, mistakes will happen. Warren Buffett said, “You don’t need to do everything right with money to win, so long as you limit what you do wrong.” We all experience setbacks with money, employment, and our finances, the secret is to learn from those mistakes and vow to not do them again. A major mistake most of us fall victim to is debt. Learn from your debt mistakes, and vow to hate debt with a passion. You do that and you will be wealthy indeed.
Competition is important
The best players in the world always want to compete against stiff competition. I personally hate watching games between a great team and a mediocre one. Blowouts are not my thing. Watching the best play the best is an amazing thing. In our financial lives, competition can be the secret ingredient to getting you over the top. Knowing that you will have to step up your game whether it is in the business arena, at your place of work, or just merely to live a decent life will propel you. It is in times like this that you will see people rise to the occasion. Competition brings out the best in people and it is those moments that the pretenders and winners get separated. I think competition is needed in our financial lives. It will make us strive to earn more, save more, and have our money grow. It breeds success and that is never a bad thing.
Education and sports are closely linked
I know sports is what helped me get through high school. You see I have always been intelligent; the problem was that I hated going to class. Unless it was a subject I was interested in, I would rather be anywhere else in the world. Sports was crucial for me because I had to maintain a solid grade average to be able to participate. Because of this I went to the classes, did the work and ultimately got the grades. For many, sports is their gateway to an education period. Without the scholarships that sports provide many would not be able to pursue higher education and in turn, a well-paying career after college is done. While there will always be stories of the athletes that do not attend class and are just there to play sports, there are far more stories of the successful student-athlete that used sports to get their degree and in turn help themselves, their families and even their communities.
It is important to understand the link between equality and wealth. I am of the belief that we must strive to break down societal barriers of inequality in order for us all to become more prosperous. While the welfare state has helped many over the years, a better play would be to equip people in order to not need to use the government to merely survive. You can see this inequality often divide us down lines of race, sex, and religion. I believe that when we experience true equality, we all prosper from being in that state. Sports has always been a leader in breaking down barriers of equality. From Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson to Jim Thorpe and Danika Patrick. In sports, talent reigns supreme and while I will not say discrimination does not exist in sports, it usually gets trumped by success. There becomes a point when prejudices must be dropped for the sake of winning. That was true for the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1940s, as well as the Boston Celtics of the 1960s. When you are on a team, you are a brother or sisterhood. This type of bond strengthens relationships and fosters a community of growth. In real life, those that work together and overcome differences are often more successful. This to me is no coincidence.
The power of belief
I post a lot of motivational quotes. I don’t do it because I am a lovey-dovey kind of guy. I post those sorts of images because I truly believe that you must first think you can succeed before you succeed. The best athletes in the world all believe that they are the best. They truly think they can beat anyone at any given time. When you believe in yourself it is remarkable what you can achieve. For those in debt, you must believe you can get out of it. Those who fall into the “That’s just the way my life is,” mindset will almost always fail. This type of mentality rubs off on others and then they start to not believe in you either. On the flip side, confidence breeds success as others will have faith in your abilities. My High School basketball coach had the words, “Believe in Yourself,” etched on the backs of our practice uniforms. I always thought it was kind of weird when I was younger. I now know why it was so important.
I want to congratulate the Toronto Raptors and all their fans for this amazing victory. It shows that determination, hard work, careful planning, and patience can pay off. Let’s all get that gold trophy awarded for being good with money. They haven’t made one yet, but no doubt you can afford your own once you achieve financial freedom!
“What does it take to be a champion? Desire, dedication, determination, concentration and the will to win.” – Patty Berg
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