Lessons from the Dream Team
As I shared in chapel on Monday, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been learning about the 1992 Dream Team, and the dynamics of how so many stars with larger-than-life egos were able to work together as a team is fascinating me. Coach Chuck Daly certainly was masterful in the way he handled such large personalities, discussing the importance of being on time to his players during their first meeting (even though it wasn’t about being on time— it was about respecting each other*).
While I love the lesson about being on time, there’s another lesson Coach Daly taught two of his assistant coaches Mike Kyzyzewski (Coach K) and P.J. Carlesimo that’s applicable to teachers. At the time, Coach K and Coach Carlesimo were young, up-and-coming college coaches, so being around elite professional players was a new game for them. Daly’s advice— and advice for all us— learn to ignore.
Daly went on to explain that when you are able to ignore the minor issues, you can focus on what’s important. Whether players were grumbling about coaches or arguing about stats, it was important for the assistant coaches to “be hard of hearing” so they could stay focused.
In the book What Great Teachers Do Differently, Todd Whitaker says,
“Great teachers have the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the ability to respond to inappropriate behavior without escalating the situation.” In essence, great teachers know what needs immediate attention and what can wait for a better time.
Learning to ignore doesn’t mean negative behavior is overlooked and not addressed; rather, it means the teacher stays in control of his emotions and doesn’t allow his buttons to be pushed— whether that’s by a 7th grader in the classroom or by a 7-footer on the Dream Team.
*Click here and listen at the 10:30 mark of the Entreleadership podcast to hear assistant coach Brendan Suhr recount the story.