When enough isn’t enough

I’m legit hurting in my soul right now.

I though I was done with caring for the Knicks, but last night proved I was only kidding myself.

In case you haven’t heard (or don’t care, it’s ok) the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery Order was determined last night.  Each year, the leagues worst teams get to find out in what order they will be selecting players from June’s upcoming draft.  This is significant because NY’s last great player (sorry Carmelo) was selected 30 years ago.  Patrick Ewing was the #1 overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft.  Knick fans were hoping to strike gold again in this year’s lottery, and they deserved to.  The New York Knicks had the worst record in the NBA for almost the entire season.  They were “tanking” or deliberately loosing games to improve their draft position.  The worst record in the NBA guarantees that a team will have the greatest number of ping pong balls, which equates to the greatest probability of earning the right to choose first in the draft.  All projections had the Knicks earning the #1 pick for their efforts, with even the most extreme models showing them no lower than #2.

But the Knicks had to go ahead an Knick.  For no reason whatsoever, they went on an uncalled for streak to end the season, winning 3 out of their final 6.  Because of this Minnesota (who wasn’t tanking as obviously as the Knicks were) ended the season with the worst record by a single game, and thus the greatest chance for that coveted #1.

So what did the Knicks earn for their untimely righting of the ship at the end of the season?

The 2nd pick?  Nope.

The 3rd pick? Wrong again.

The 4th pick?  Bingo.

4th.  This may not seem like a big deal but it is.  This year’s draft features 3 virtual can’t miss rookie NBA draft prospects.  New York went from having their pick of the best, to potentially missing out on all of them.  That’s why Knicks General Manager Steve Mills has his MJ cry head on.  He knows his organization just blew a golden opportunity to start over fresh.

But these are the Knicks we’re talking about here.

The Surest Thing

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The Lottery. One of societies most interesting perplexities. Most people outwardly mock and disparage individuals who participate in it, but somebody has to be buying all those Power Ball tickets.

In some ways The Lottery represents one of mankind’s greatest flaws: the thinking that one stroke of luck can cure all ills. This is not only untrue, it can be dangerous.

I’ve heard The Lotto described as a tax on the mathematically challenged, reason being the odds are astronomically against you. I’d imagine that most lotto players don’t really expect to win, but do it out of habit. But the mentality of “seizing that one moment” has gone beyond the convenient store.

In this day and age, it would seem that many folks are waiting for their time to shine. More than a few “entrepreneurs” are looking for nothing more than a M&A (merger and acquisition) opportunity. The proliferation of reality TV competitions and contests, frivolous lawsuits, and much of social media support the notion that your average person expects the “come-up” or moment of adulation and praise. Success has gone from a goal to an expectation, even an entitlement.

The let down is inevitable because this train of thought is insincere. Most people who have accomplished notable things did so out of their own hard work and determination. Even when it seems the opposite, closer inspection will reveal the perseverance and determination which lead to eventual triumph. “Making it Big” is a function of how much an individual wants it, and is willing to make it happen. To think otherwise is self-deceiving.

One of the side effects of the “seize that one moment” mentality is a generation of people who are suffering because their opportunity hasn’t yet come. They have been taught to expect easy wins with little effort. It is sad to speak to members of this group because they embraced “what their itching ears wanted to hear” (2 Timothy 4:3). It is unwise to believe it is possible to succeed in any sense of the word, without expending some measure effort. From the beginning of time, History teaches that nothing comes easy.

So what to make of this? Bet on yourself. Find out what brings you the most joy and go for it, full tilt. It’s the closest to a sure thing there is.