Tierney Consulting, LLC


Musings on Athletics, Life, and Leadership


As I was reading an article for my Psychology of Creativity class this morning, I noticed something beautiful and unique about sports and competition. In the article, “The Roles of Creativity in Society” by Seana Moran, she writes, “Creativity involves uncertainty because it is difficult to know the consequences of something truly new.” As I read this quote, I realized that athletics (and team sports in particular) are an amazing co-creative process. Follow me for a minute…

This thought process started for me about a month ago, when I wrote a letter to my Denver Elite parents encouraging them to cheer for both teams (this is not an original idea of mine and I have seen it suggested by many thought leaders in athletics). Some of the behavior that I have witnessed on sidelines around the country the past few years has been nothing short of appalling. As adults, I believe that we are the ones responsible for creating a more positive atmosphere around youth sports.

So to get back to my point, we watch games all of the time as spectators and fans, and we usually want one team to win and another to lose. We will do anything for one outcome, namely a “win” for our own team and pray for another outcome, the dreaded “loss”, not to occur. But, what if we realized that the game itself was the awesome co-creation between two teams? What if we focused on the game as the end result in itself, rather than the score of that game?

When we go to watch a movie or a play, we tend to do the same thing. We hope for the hero’s success and the villain can go to hell, for all we care! And thankfully, almost every time our wishes are met and we go home happy. (I was going to reference the new movie “Gravity” here, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Go see it now!) The funny thing about is this, we will say, “Oh that was such a great movie! I loved it.” The interesting question to ask ourselves is did we really love the movie, or did we love the outcome? The importance of this question lies in the fact that Hollywood does not usually portray how life always works. Athletics though, can be a much more realistic example of our everyday existence, with uncertainty being one of its main characteristics.

If we can just enjoy the work of art that two teams create on the field together, then that is really something special. The best part is, it allows us as parents and supporters to create a more positive atmosphere for our youth, cheer for both teams that are working hard to create an excellent game and we can all go home happy. The co-creative process of the youth (as well as teens and adults) who play sports together (not against one another) is something to be cherished and not desecrated.

Trevor Tierney