It Matters

by Ryan Krzykowski

When it comes to social media, I can be a pretty crusty old man.  In general, I’m just not a fan of people voicing critical opinions and takes about the lives of others who they’ve never met and don’t know very much about.  It feels gross to me, and as a result I tend to stay away.  I understand that by staying away I’m missing out on some good stuff, but that’s the tradeoff I’ve decided to accept in my own life.  If it was on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, I probably didn’t see it.

And yet, every once in a while I accidentally stumble across something like this Twitter post about former University of Houston basketball player Jamal Shead.  I don’t know much about Shead, and beyond watching him play a few times on TV over the years he’s never crossed my mind.  But this post was pretty great for a couple reasons.  If you watch the short video, it shows Jamal cleaning up after members of his team (some said it was coaches) made a mess knocking over a trash can on the way to the locker room after a tough loss in 2022.  The idea behind the post is pretty simple — that the kind of player who’s conscientious enough to stop and clean up after others might end up being the kind of player who puts in the work to eventually become the Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year (the first time that’s happened in the Big 12).  Clearly, being a person who cleans up others’ trash isn’t going to make someone great at basketball.  But it doesn’t seem crazy to think that having the maturity and integrity that Shead displayed that day would be an indication he possesses the quality of character and discipline that would give him the best shot at maximizing his potential as a player, and that he would become a man who could help motivate teammates to maximize their talents as well.

After watching the video and reading the post, I decided to take the leap into the comment section.  Comment sections can be absolutely brutal — I’m almost never happy with my rare decisions to venture in, but in this case I was rewarded with a wave of positivity that was inspiring.  A sampling of those comments:

  • I remember seeing this at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa. This young man made an impression on me that night.
  • He did it too not knowing the camera was there. Shows you that type of stuff is a part of his character. Shead is just that guy!
  • This is the guy I want leading my team. Good is good.
  • Not a basketball guy. Don’t know him. But I love him after seeing this story. What a role model.
  • If we’d started showing the good people do and appreciating it, we’d probably get more of it. Positive actions can be contagious just as much as negativity. Catch people being good.
  • I’m going to show my kids this video for years to come.

That’s a great idea…I think I’ll share this post and video with the young men I coach, and we can talk about maturity, leadership and putting others ahead of ourselves.  And as we have our talk, I’ll dream of living in a world where all the comment sections on social media posts are as uplifting as this one was.

Let’s Coach With Purpose…