Keith Jensen: “Be Water, My Friend”

Here’s round 2 of Ginebra rookie Keith Jensen’s Slam journal entry.

“Be Water, My Friend”
By Keith Jensen

This season, we’ve experienced a lot of ups and downs. We won 2 in a row, lost 5 straight, and then won 4. We’ve become a streaky team¬¬—and it’s quite a roller coaster ride.

Being present to the journey, I’ve noticed that as a team we tend to get high or low on ourselves depending on how our season has been going. Coach acknowledged this after a lackluster effort in the first half against Rain or Shine during which we went down by 20 points. He pointed out that we had become lazy in practice after winning previous games and said, “We’re starting to think we’re better than we really are!”

It’s a common mental trap that naturally seduces the minds of athletes. Players and teams will become attached to the idea of winning; entangling themselves in the duality of the game. Self-identifying as a “winner” or “loser” blocks the ability to have an objective perspective, and lures people away from acting and reacting in the present moment.

Bruce Lee came to this truth. He said, “Empty the mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water…”

You cannot fit the preconceived form of “winner” or “loser” into the shape of a new game.

Winning cannot be the reason to play. Yes, losing can be incredibly painful. But it can also be beautiful: when the lesson in the loss is recognized and the agony of losing is contrasted with the ecstasy of winning. It is this excitement, the energetic charge, caused by the coin flip of winning and losing, that makes the game so fun. The glory lies in the Yin and the Yang. The highs and the lows are experienced as the thrill—the very reason we ride the roller coaster in the first place.

“Running water never goes stale. You gotta just keep on flowing.” –Bruce Lee