The first week of April is what golfers live for – The Masters. The first week of April is what baseball fans live for – opening day for the baseball season. This time of year, great things are blooming and showcasing their beauty for the summer season ahead. What a great week!
I had the pleasure of attending the Masters several years ago and it truly lived up to everything I had ever heard about it. I walked in with such anticipation, much like a 6 year old child walking down Main Street of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. When we walked in next to the 16th tee, I could not believe how the course really came to life right in front of me. The television production really makes the course seem to on this expansive land, but the truth is that the course is all wrapped right around itself. If you ever have the opportunity – go.
What I found the most interesting about my trip to Augusta National was the back of my badge. The primary purpose of the tournament is to “showcase the horticultural beauty of the land, providing an experience for patrons to enjoy the flowers, plants, and other greenery of the surrounding property.” While not verbatim, it said something like that. The second purpose “is to host a world class golf tournament.” I had a laugh because everyone knows the golf tournament, but not many really understand the history behind the land at Augusta National.
The land that Augusta National sits on was the site of an old indigo plantation and was actually the state of Georgia’s nursery during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The land is a horticultural majesty and the membership and tournament organizers pride themselves in their preparation of their land and tournament. They pride themselves in the little details that many others probably overlook. For instance, their sandwiches were very inexpensive but fantastic, such as the pimento cheese and roast beef. Each sandwich is wrapped in a green wrapper, so if someone drops their wrapper during the week, it does not look terrible on television. Every experience of the patrons is planned and considered. The Masters is a great tournament, but it is the best when considering its commitment to excellence in every detail.
Opening day in baseball is my other favorite day. It follows my impression of The Masters as well, namely, the beauty of the ballparks and smells that come with a day at the ballpark. When I was playing at LSU, coach used to always tell our teams that a commitment to excellence started with our preparation. He wanted every facet of our ballpark, the legendary Alex Box Stadium, to display excellence. He demanded the dugouts to be clean, with special attention to the visitor’s dugout. The screens on the field for batting practice were always freshly painted, strings tight, and the frames solid. From the minute the opposing team got off of their bus, he wanted them to see what excellence looked like and attribute that to the LSU Baseball team.
It must have worked for both The Masters and the LSU Baseball Team – both are the elite in their respective fields, what others try and emulate. My question to you today is this – Have You Committed to be Excellent in Everything You Do? Have You Committed to be Excellent in Your Preparation?
I know I talk a lot about the power of preparation, but a player that fails to prepare fails to be excellent. It is that simple. The number of players that are able to “turn it on” during competition when they fail to put the effort in during their preparation is a strong minority. The overwhelming majority grow their execution during competition from a strong foundation built from their preparation. If you want to find out what the best in the world does to prepare, go to YouTube and search their training regimens. Check out Lindsey Vonn, Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, and so on. It will change the way that you prepare.
Give me the next 45 days to fully commit to your preparation. Focus on the small things, those that you normally overlook or think you will do at a later date. Push yourself to put an extra 15 minutes of training in to your conditioning. Those 15 minutes are the One Percents that foster true excellence.
It starts today – are you ready?