Opportunity: It’s All In The Eye Of The Beholder

I took this picture of an outdoor basketball court in 2007 while in Novi Sad, Serbia.

I love this thought from Bill Hartman’s blog:

Barriers aren’t there to prevent one from being successful. They are there to identify those who want it bad enough.

This has been my longest stint in Cayman (10-days!) since moving down here in July. And, with that, I’ve finally had a chance to bounce around the island to take in some more of what it has to offer. Did a little snorkelling on Sunday, went for a jog (can’t believe it myself!), played softball and played some ball with my Aussie mate, Mike Oldfield.

All of these things reminded me of that saying, you know it, beauty is in the eye of the holder. And, the other one: One man’s curse is another man’s blessing. (Or, something like that.)

Here me out and then you’ll get where I’m coming from…

In Canada, the ongoing challenge that coaches and administrators often complain about is the facilities. There aren’t enough is the commonly agreed upon sentiment. “We’re competing with all these other indoor sports,” many lament.

Since moving to the Cayman Islands, and chatting with a few people on about basketball, one of the quips, is about a need for facilities for training. There is no full-sized, wood floor, basketball court on the island, I was told.

A few nights ago, Oldfield and I were playing ball at about 7:30pm. (Yes… It was some ugly basketball, but we had fun regardless.)

It was dark outside and by eight o’clock, everyone was gone and it was just the two of us hoopin’. Oldfield, at one point, says in his thick Aussie accent: “I don’t know who’s paying for this but someone’s footin’ a big bill for us two to play.

I hadn’t really thought about it until then. We had a full-sized court, glass backboards, break-away rims, with a beautifully-done-outdoor-tennis-court-finish, that was fully lit up with stadium style lighting for us to play on. And, the temperature was a perfect 20-degrees celsius (about 70 F).

“OMG…!” I think was my first thought. It hit me… you could train year round down here!

Hey… I know a whole heap of kids back home in Toronto who would die to have the ‘problems’ here in Cayman. They turn the lights off on courts back home when it gets dark. It’s hard for kids to find a run in the evening. Hoops that me and the fellas used to ball on back in the day, now have their rims cut off or have removable rims, so again, kids can only play within certain times of the day.

In my first position in pro sports, I oversaw a court refurbishment program for the Toronto Raptors where we had dedicated monies to upgrade courts for kids. Believe this when I say, we had a hard time finding communities willing to let us reconstruct courts – for free! (That’s a whole ‘nother topic.)

Down here, I’ve seen at least 2-3 courts that could legitimately be used at anytime – morning, day or night. Year round. (If you could see me, I’m salivating as I write this.)

Everything is along the ocean, so you could literally, walk your team to the beach, cross-train playing a myriad of sports in the sand, do dry-land training and then your recovery work in the ocean.

The heat? Yeah, it’s hot. Perfect!

I can tell you about two Canadian national team coaches who would have loved to do some of their pre-World Championship training in this heat to build up the resiliency of their team. The U19 World Championships in Slovakia was hot and the men’s tournament in Serbia was bloody hawt (…gotta say it with an Eddie Murphy, Delirious, accent!). Outside some days in Novi Sad, Serbia, were 44-degrees Celsius (115+ F) with the inside of the arena trying to rival the outdoors – like it was some kind of competition.

Talk about a perfect opportunity to build up resiliency. Our Canadian national team kids train in these wonderfully designed air conditioned gyms. I can tell you that it hurt their performances not being accustomed to being in a hot gym.

Outside of competing internationally against the US, Canada has to qualify out of their zone against the likes of Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica, etc. – to name a few. They’re all pretty hot (or hawt!) places to be too.

So as I sit here conjuring up the possibilities… I think awesome. There are tons of facilities and opportunities on a small island with no access to indoor facilities.

Huh… time to change my perspective on the barriers in front. Thanks mate, for that reminder.