Miami came back to win Game 6 last night and even the Eastern Conference Finals series 3-3, largely thanks to an outstanding performance by LeBron James who scored 45 points, gathered 15 rebounds, and dished 5 assists to lead the team to a decisive 19-point victory. Way more than a good job and effort, there.
The young Miami fan heard calling out to his heroes at the end of Game 5 was nine-year-old Jack Meyer of Coral Gables, Florida. Within moments after airing, a video clip of his supportive words got quickly passed around the web, with a lot of the initial reaction taking Jack’s words as being sarcastic, given how the loss appeared to result from what some felt wasn’t a “good effort” at all.
In other words, many took what Jack was saying as a hilarious bit of trolling, not a genuine verbal pat-on-the-back to the players for having tried their best but come up short. But Jack was dead serious with his shouts of encouragement, as he explained to NBC Miami when they interviewed him afterwards.
In the interview, Jack notes how one player -- Terrell Harris -- heard him and gave him a thumbs up as he passed. Jack also explains how he appreciated the way “LeBron James was fighting so hard” in the game as well as other players’ efforts, and how he believes “you can’t give up” and “you know there’s always got to be a second chance for you.”
I laughed like everyone else when I first heard the kid calling out “good job, good effort” to the Heat players, primarily because his words seemed to represent the exact opposite of what the Heat probably wanted to hear at the time. I also saw that @goodjobkid account quickly pop up on Twitter, an admittedly funny extension of the whole gag with more talk of “hustle points” and “trying super hard” and so on.
Of course, I knew right away it was probably most likely the case that the kid was being earnest. Then yesterday I was glad to read the article confirming that he indeed meant what he said. Entirely.
I’m going to guess Jack was echoing the same kind of encouragement he himself has gotten from parents, coaches, or teachers thus far in his young life. The video of his interview -- from which comes that pic above -- shows him shooting hoops with his Pop.
The message reminds me a lot of how my parents always talked to me about such matters -- like grades, or doing well in sports, or anything, really -- and how the most important thing was to try my best.
We hear this same sort of idea being expressed in poker all the time, how we shouldn’t be “results oriented” and get too caught up in how the cards fall. Rather should we focus on making the best decisions, taking favorable risks with our chips, and being content with doing our best to win and avoiding getting discouraged when we don’t.
But we’re not kids anymore. It’s hard for us to accept losing, or anything that might be viewed by others as failure. We know how the world works. We are conscious of being judged by others, and how even if we know we did a good job and gave our best effort, others aren’t always going to appreciate that.
Still, as Jack wisely points out, you can’t give up. And as he implies, doing your best is really all that matters.