Like the Tarahumara

After a day of meetings and data and sitting… I return to my computer and find this e-mail waiting:

Hello Mr. Little, 

I was reading my book when I came across a really cool line that I wanted to share with you and what I thought you might like.

Unlike cheerleading, there’s no way to predict where the ball-or you- will land. You can run all the plays in the world, but you have no control over what your opponent will throw at you. I love the game because every dribble, shot or pass is an opportunity for disaster or glory.”

And then I found a quote online.

Basketball is my life…
I live, eat, breathe, and dream of the action, the excitement and the competition.
The wild adventure of each new game is like walking on the edge of the horizon knowing whatever is at the end
I will have given to the game EVERYTHING I HAVE.”

I hoped you liked them :)

Ahhhh…. man, I LOVE coaching. If this is the only girl I pass on a love for ballin’ to, I’m fine!

In reality, it’s perfect timing for this e-mail. I’m currently reading “Born to Run” by Chris McDougall. Great book, and a perfect blend of my biggest interests – anthropology, history, science, people who challenge the status-quo and sports. It follows the story of the Tarahumara, a remote tribe of people living in the the Sierra Madre of Central Mexico. They live a simple, nearly primitive, life out of both necessity and choice. The nook focuses on their ridiculous ability to run seemingly hundreds of miles at once. Without any training, advanced footwear – they wear thin sandals with a single strap – and basic nourishment of chia, corn, and beans.


Naturally, any American coach (and some shoe company executives) want to see these guys run. The Tarahumara come to America for a few races. While too many get caught up in the spectacle (cheering against them, making money off of them, trying to beat the unbeatable, etc), one coach makes a shrewd observation. The Tarahumara just LOVE running. Sure, they have good form and running is their lifestyle. But they wear SANDALS! And eat nothing nutritious by modern food science standards. The remarkable observation is that the Tarahumara – the “running people” – love to run. It’s in their blood, and they’re GREAT because it’s something they love to do.

While on a flight home from vacation – it hit me hard while reading this book. ALL sport is love. If you want to be great at something, you have to LOVE it, before anything. Talent, athleticism, hard work can take you far. But without LOVE of your sport, you’ll never be great. And if you are great, you certainly won’t enjoy it.


This e-mail was a great example of that.


What do you do on the waning days of summer? Read a book about basketball. And then e-mail your coach when a great line has inspired you. And then go play ball. THAT’S a player who loves ball. And a player who will be great. Thankfully, we’ve got a few of those at Lakeview. We’ve had a few, too, that have helped build a culture of LOVING to ball. With attitudes like this, winning or not, it’s a fun game to play.

Man, I LOVE coaching basketball!


UPDATE: Very cool video of “Caballo Blanco” (prominent in the book) and his Copper Canyon Ultramarathon.