What We Can Learn From The Memphis Grizzlies

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It’s late, which is often the time of day I have the most thoughts. But I don’t often take the time to write them down. So here we go…

Tonight the Memphis Grizzlies won game 4 of their NBA playoff series against OKC. Wednesday they could take the series with a win on the road.

I just moved to Memphis in January, so I’ve only been here long enough to be a bandwagon fan. But I have experience the magic that comes with cheering on the Grizz. And I’m starting to buy into what they stand for.

You see, the way I’ve always seen sporting events and teams is this: They are fun to follow. They all have stories and they are all examples of hope, hard work, diligence and commitment. And I think we can learn a lot from them. Professional athletes are PROS, they work hard to get where they are and they prove that hard work and sacrifice can pay off.

For me, they are a parallel to OUR faith. No I’m not saying we worship sports (though some do) and I’m not saying that everything is all about sports. What I’m saying is there are several things we can learn from following a team. Much like following Christ and our faith, there are ups and downs. But sticking through it all, we learn something. And it’s usually something we can pass on.

We can also learn A LOT from the Memphis motto: Believe. You see if we BELIEVE in the team, we start to hope for success, we start to come together for a common cause and it spreads. City wide…I see it. Everywhere you look people post BELIEVE MEMPHIS. We chant “Don’t Stop Believin'” and we hold hold up our growls towels with pride. It brings everyone together, from all walks of live, from all parts of the city. From all backgrounds. From all beliefs and perspectives. They fill FedEx Forum, they crowd into bars, restaurants, homes, churches and businesses to share their love for the team. They instill pride in all that we do.

I feel that pride and it’s contagious.

But what if that pride, that belief, went beyond supporting a professional basketball team?

What IF we all believed in something BIGGER than the score, the success and the thrill.

What IF we acted on that BELIEF? Volunteered our time? Took time to clean our city? Said thank you to people who make a difference in our city? Helped others experience the good in our city? Worked hard to maintain our neighborhood? Mentored our children? Spent time with the less fortunate? Gave back to the place we love? Worked hard to keep the positive going?

What IF we payed if forward? Spread the LOVE, JOY, PRIDE and BELIFE beyond basketball season?

You see, this is a GREAT CITY! We’ve got so much to be grateful for and when I see everyone come together to support the GRIZZLIES it inspires me to do more for this place. It makes me happy to be here. It gives me reason to act. It inspires me to BELIEVE in something much bigger than basketball.

And I hope it does the same for you.

In fact, I challenge you this week to do something for someone else. No act too small. Pay it forward, give back. Make a difference. Inspire someone else. Believe. Come together. Learn.

As we follow the Grizzlies (hopefully to the NBA Finals) let us remember to say THANK YOU. Be kind to those around us. Take pride in where we live. Do good. And BELIEVE in something more.

April 15th, 2004

For most, April 15th is tax day.  It’s the day we all hope we’ve already done all the paper work for our taxes, many of us wishing and hoping we’ll get a nice return.  For some it’s a sign of adulthood, the first time you have to file.

But for me, April 15th is a day I’ll never forget. April 15th changed my family’s life forever. It’s a day I grew up fast…and it began my adulthood.  It changed my view of life…forever.

It was April 15th, 2004.  I was a senior at Xavier High School.  I was working at KCRG-TV as a production assistant.  We had just finished up the 6 pm newscast when my dad called and asked me to come home for my dinner break.

I drove home, it was the longest 15-20 minute drive of my life.  When I got home both my parents were sitting on the white couch in our living room.  They asked me to sit down and then they utter words I’ll never forget. “Lauren, your mom has breast cancer.”

You see, my mom found a lump during a routine monthly self-exam.  She wasn’t going to do anything about it until after my graduation but my dad insisted she get it checked. We had just lost her mother in October 2003, so it was important to be proactive.

I remember feeling like my whole world was crashing that day.  I wondered how bad it was, if my mom would live to see my graduate, get married, etc.

Little did I know, the next few years my family would push through the cancer battle.  We’d use our Catholic faith to get us through the good and the bad. We would rely and depend on God and the Eucharist every Sunday. It would be our signal of strength and suffereing. My mom would become the rock on the family. She would become our inspiration for living life to the fullest. My parents love for each other would grow deeper than anyone could imagine.  And it would lay the groundwork for so much more to come.

9 year later I’ve learned that so much good can come from bad.  That day my whole world came crashing down.  But it wouldn’t stay that way forever and I would come out of it stronger than ever. April 15th, 2004 would teach my family to BELIEVE.

momToday, my mom is happy and healthy.  Cancer free for 9 years…this October we’ll be running in the 10th Breast Cancer Race since she lost her mom.

And I will continue to hope and pray for a cure.