March Madness and Cricket. Two things that normally just don’t go together, but for today’s story they will.

The Indian cricket team is dominant, recently winning the Cricket World Cup and being the first team to do so on home soil. They are a team with incredible players and their fans expect a lot from their team. One of their best players Sachin Tendulkar today became the first cricketer to score 100 international centuries, reaching a new record in his glittering two-decade career.

Known variously as the “Little Master” or “Bombay Blaster”, is worshiped as a demi-god in his cricket-crazy country and hasn’t made a misstep since he came on the world stage in 1989 just 16 years old.

Yet today, some Indian fans place the blame on him. “Sachin scores 100 yet we lose”.  What kind of attitude is this?  Cricket is like basketball, it is a team sport and all players have to make their contributions for the team to win.  Today the Indian bowlers were off their mark and they caused the team to lose by 5 wickets. It’s like my favorite team the Texas Rangers, they were two outs away from winning their first World Series and the batters had given all they could provide runs and more runs. But yet the pitching staff just decided to give even more away.

But today is about attitude.

My friend, Mitesh Sanghvi asked this question? “Then what’s the difference between expectation, desire and target?”

Which brings me back to March Madness.

Shaka Smart, current head coach of the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams understands the correlation between expectation, desire and target. Shaka, named after Shaka Zulu, the southern African king who united hundreds of thousands of people understands expectations. Before the first game of VCU’s run this year he handed each player a laminated copy of VCU’s NCAA tournament bracket with the 12th-seeded Rams already meeting their preseason goal of advancing to the Sweet 16. Coach Smart didn’t look at a target that was winning the NCAA’s. He made the target obtainable. The target was within reach. All they had to do was win two games and their first target was complete. He had each player sign a bigger version on the locker room wall, an exercise meant to help the players visualize their goal and commit to expending maximum effort to achieve it.  He gave them the expectation. He made each player commit to that goal of advancing to the Sweet 16 and they executed against a team that was given more respect and “ranked” higher than them. By establishing that as a coach he believed in that they could make it to the Sweet 16 he imparted his desire and thus by their commitment by signing the bracket made it their desire.  They beat the Shockers of Wichita St using their signature “havoc” defense. VCU desired the win and they got the first step to the Sweet 16 complete.

My friend Sonal Khodiyar says, “Expectation and desire are the two razor edges of a sword, and target, is the tip of the sword, which is so fierce that it can rip through anything it comes across if used with precision… :)”

Sonal is right on and the key phrase is “rip through anything it comes across if used with precision”.

If you hit someone with the wide part of the sword and don’t hit him with the sharpened edge, you could maybe give your opponent a bruise or may shatter your sword. It all depends on precision.

We all have goals and desires.

After I got divorced I had a bill that had been haunting me. It was a credit card bill that I thought I would never ever in a million years pay off. But I put sticky notes everywhere I was with a date on it. It was 18 months away. Everyone asked me about the sticky notes even my good friend Kerri Schoonvelt. I told them I was going to pay off that bill by that time. I scrimped, I saved and I was able to take down every sticky note on every door of my house and my mirror in my bathroom 16 months in because I had expectations of success, I desired to move to not having that debt over my head and I used precision in my budgeting and my true needs to pay off the debt and then I followed it up by doing something nice for me. I succeeded because I CHOSE to succeed. However, I can tell you that in my life I have failed more times than I have succeeded. I consider myself a success even with that statistic looming over me.


At my work I tell people I want them to make mistakes and fail. Co-workers think I’m nuts. They are wrong. If you fail, you learn and most likely won’t ever make that same mistake ever again.

When I first started out in radio I let a semi-cuss word go over the air. I didn’t say it and I didn’t mean to let it over the air. But it went over the air and the hotline rang. It was my boss and he cussed and yelled at me up one way and down another. It was the longest 3 minutes of my life. I thought I would never work again in radio. The rest of my show, which before the call was going great, turned into a cluster of mistakes and miscellaneous failures. That boss NEVER hotlined me again to bitch me out.

He realized later that I was more rattled than he was and I was trying to move on from my mistake. But his jumping me 30 seconds after it happened did not change the past and the rest of my show suffered because of his actions.

I am hard on myself. I have high expectations and I don’t like it when I fail.

I had someone that needed to be coaching and guiding me to success instead of coaching me to fail.

I’ve never allowed that mistake to happen again. Not because of fear of 3 minutes of bad coaching, but of trying to improve every day that I am here.

If you come up short you shouldn’t dwell on the failure. I’ve made mistakes and I move on now. I only wish I could have done it after 3 minutes of hell.

We all have our swords drawn. We have our fights ahead of us. But have we visualized what we need to do to succeed? Have we committed to a goal? Is our target close and obtainable?

After VCU lost in the Final Four last year, an incredible achievement from a team that finished 4th in the Colonial Athletic Association, not one of the major conferences at all, Coach Smart knew that this year would be tough for a team that nobody expected anything from. He started the fall by handing wallet sized cards with “It’s over” on one side and “Own today” on the other to remind his players not to be satisfied with what they accomplished a year ago. Coach Smart is well, you know… SMART.

So the man, who has gotten his players to believe in him, is on the road to the Sweet 16. I certainly hope that he gets there.

The Indian Cricket team needs to take a moment to mourn this loss. Mourn this lost opportunity, then go out and take advantage of Sachin Tendulkar’s 101st century.

Anything can happen if you expect success; you throw effort and desire in achieving that success and your actions are precise to deliver success.

I wish you luck today and hope that if I can help you be successful, that you will call on me to do so.


2 thoughts on “How scoring a century in cricket actually relates to March Madness

  1. I just love the way you put things up Sean. Absolutely lovable.

    When Sachin makes 101th Century playing an One Day International( the 50 overs game) he will be scoring his 50th ODI century, which is again a record in itself…

    the one statement I absolutely liked was “At my work I tell people I want them to make mistakes and fail. Co-workers think I’m nuts. They are wrong. If you fail, you learn and most likely won’t ever make that same mistake ever again.”

    I believe in this philosophy.. you learn by your own mistakes. Do mistakes, learn from it, so that you don’t do it when you cannot afford doing mistakes. I heard a statement from one prominent professor I had pleasure of meeting, he used to say, “do as many mistakes in college as you can, because when you go out to real world, your chances of doing mistakes will start reducing”.

  2. Sean – a wonderful elaboration of a thought with a smooth flow of beautiful words! Congrats!

Comments are closed.