Reaction of the Few
During my first coaching stint at Doane College (University), I usually allowed my players to decide where we ate. To this day, every one of those players will tell you that I negotiated for the best deal. In truth, I let my players decide where we ate. My philosophy was if I let the players make the small decisions, they wouldn’t question the bigger decisions I made.
I think it was in 1995 when my assistant came to me with a team problem. She was emphatic that we shouldn’t eat at Wendy’s anymore. The whole team was in an uproar over the fact that Wendy’s was our most frequent post-game meal stop.
I was confused because I let the players decide where we ate. To clear things up, I went to the captains of the team. They told me the assistant and one player were the only two that didn’t like to eat at Wendy’s. If I would have reacted to one or two team members, I would have made a mistake for the majority.
I think that happens more times than you think in our daily lives. Did you know that our community has a Crete Community Foundation? One of the members of that foundation takes it upon herself to decorate the 12 giant flowerpots in downtown Crete.
It’s not an easy job and the work she does is entirely voluntary. That foundation member and one of her friends worked over six hours last Wednesday to put sunflowers in each pot. Sunflowers have taken on great significance since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is Ukraine’s national flower.
In the middle of each pot, these two volunteers place a small Ukrainian flag. There is almost universal support for Ukraine in their battle to resist the Russian invasion. That is especially true in the sports world.
Many sports, including the world soccer organization, FIFA, have stopped competition with the Russian National Team. It’s just not that Russian teams have been banned in protest of the Russian invasion, it’s Russian athletes themselves.
Russians in soccer, national Russian hockey, the National Hockey League, the Russian Biathlon champion, professional tennis players, even a figure skater have criticized the Russian leader for his ruthless attach on Ukraine. In one example of unity, a Russian professional tennis player teamed with a Ukrainian professional player in a double’s competition.
Even in Crete, normal citizens were emotional when they saw the flowerpot display of support for Ukraine. One of the two women that decorated the flowerpots was buying gas a couple of days after they finished their project.
The woman behind the counter didn’t realize the customer had done the work. She told the volunteer how proud she was to be in a community that could show concern for people they didn’t even know.
She continued that she and her husband had considered moving to Lincoln. Instead, they decided to stay in Crete. They loved the care that the people of Crete showed for all people. She had tears in her eyes as she said this, not even knowing that she was talking to one of the women who had decorated the pots.
This heartwarming story doesn’t have a happy ending. Someone contacted a member of the Crete Community Foundation in protest of the Ukrainian flags showing support in the 12 flowerpots. In response, the Foundation pulled the Ukrainian flags from all the pots.
The sunflowers did stay. The message is still visible. With all the universal support for Ukraine, I hope the foundation didn’t react to the very small minority. My basketball team didn’t stop going to Wendy’s. I responded to the 83% majority. The sports world is almost 100% in agreement supporting Ukraine. What do you think is the Crete majority?