Mr Potts Assembly - June 2nd 2020

Senior School Assembly June 2nd 2020

The last few months have challenged us all as we’ve been separated from our families, our friends and our normal routines. To fill this void we’ve been forced to get creative, whether that has involved creating exercise routines, reading lots of books or completing TikTok challenges! Like a lot of you, I suspect, it’s also involved lots of ‘binge watching’ on Netflix.

One of the shows that’s really captured my attention is ‘The Last Dance,’ a documentary about the Chicago Bulls basketball team as they closed in on their sixth NBA Championship. Much of the focus of the series is on Michael Jordan – an iconic sportsman who managed to excel in every element of the game and, you suspect, would’ve been a success in whichever field he applied himself to. But the person who really captured my attention was another iconic sportsman: Jordan’s team-mate Dennis Rodman.

Like Jordan, Rodman was a multiple-time NBA champion and, like Jordan, he was as famous away from the basketball court as he was on it but, beyond that, he couldn’t be more different. Rodman was naturally shy and awkward, he’d been a late developer in every sense – only experiencing a growth spurt and earning a college scholarship at an age when most players are already on their way to the NBA – and he was never a high scorer. But, with the help of his coaches, Dennis Rodman was able to do something really smart: he identified the things he could do really well and he worked tirelessly to perfect those talents and to become the best in the world at what he did.

In 13 NBA seasons Rodman only averaged a mediocre 11.6 points per game but through sheer determination he was able to establish himself as the most dominant defensive player and the most prolific rebounder in the history of the sport. And that decision to hone those talents enabled Rodman to win five NBA championships – including three alongside Michael Jordan at the Bulls.

Whichever direction your lives take you in, you’ll occasionally come across ‘Michael Jordans’ – those infuriating characters who appear (on face value at least) to excel at everything that they turn their hand to. It’d be easy to look at the Michael Jordans of this world and feel inadequate but we mustn’t. For Michael Jordan to achieve the things he did, he needed a Dennis Rodman on his team and the one trait they both shared was the willingness to work hard.

My message to you all is this: very few of us get to be a Michael Jordan but we can all be a Dennis Rodman. The challenge for us all is to find those things we do really well and then work as hard as we can to be the best that we can be.

Take care, stay safe and I’ll see you all again soon.

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