Is it the Chacos?
June is a special month for me. My birthday is in June and so is Father’s Day. They are typically separated by about a week. June is also special because I love college baseball. College baseball begins the regional, super-regional and college world series. When this month rolls around every year I know there are things I have to look forward to.
Baseball is a sport that is full of superstition and ritual. Many players will never step on a chalked line and some have extensive routines they go through whenever they go into the field or come to bat. Just watch closely and you will see how players put their rituals into place.
Fans too have rituals. When a team plays well the fans may choose to wear the same thing, eat the same things or repeat similar practices prior to or during the game. I talked with someone recently who always eats asparagus prior to games. One night they forgot the asparagus, and as you might guess, their team lost. Guess they will not forget the asparagus again anytime soon.
Business also has superstition and ritual. Some of us have that luck shirt, tie, suit or shoes we wear. We may choose to take a client to a certain restaurant or venue because it brought good fortune in a prior occasion. In a similar fashion, if things go wrong you might push that same shirt, tie or whatever to the back of the closet.
Success or failure is 98% preparation and 2% perspiration someone once said. In order to become proficient, you need to practice, practice and practice even more. Malcolm Gladwell gave evidence to this in one of his popular books and another book, The Power of Full Engagement, gave light to the value of ritual in the sports and business world. Having an established practice or set of practices can be one way to provide a standard service or standard that will determine the amount of success or failure you may experience.
Practice makes perfect some might say. I say there is no perfect, at least not in this world. If you want to be the best, you need to work hard every day and sweat the small stuff. Go the extra mile, make the extra call and do the extra thing that will distinguish you from all of the rest, the ordinary.
Back to my birthday; on this 55th birthday in 2014 I got a new pair of Chacos. Chacos are sandals that are quite comfortable. Both of my sons had them for years and wore them all of the time and really enjoyed them. My wife got me my first pair before the Nashville Regional, won by Vanderbilt over Xavier, Clemson and Oregon. I wore my Chacos to every game. I wore them again when we won the Nashville Super Regional, where we defeated Stanford. I am typing this post while gazing out of the window in Omaha, Nebraska at TD Ameritrade ballpark, the home of the College World Series. I have attended 4 games that Vanderbilt has played here and those Chacos have been on my feet each time.
Tonight Vandy squares off versus Virginia for the final game of the championship series. Each team has won a game and the winner tonight will be the national champion. Both teams are extremely talented and the fan base of each is hoping for a winner. I predict that the winner will exhibit something during the game that can be directly linked to countless hours of practice, even before they ever stepped foot in Omaha over 10 days ago. There will be superstition exhibited on both sides and rituals that will be countless. Regardless of these practices, the winner will most assuredly be the team that has the fundamentals down pat. Both teams have skilled players who have practiced tirelessly for months, or even years. This practice, the skill building kind, will rule the day.
But just in case, I will have my Chacos on.
You cannot leave any stone unturned when you play for the national championship.