Never mind the noise in the market…

I grew up in India in the 70s and 80s in a suburb in Madras (now Chennai) that is now the hub of movie making in the southern part of the country.

We didn’t have a fridge and hence most of the food was purchased daily. Both parents worked and so my mum had to come home from a full day’s work and then cook for the family as my dad often worked late into the night.

It wasn’t unusual for one of us kids to walk down to the fish market with her. I remember those evenings where along both sides of the narrow street market the vendors would try to out-shout each other to gain the attention of the shoppers. It was noisy, crowded and we had to be quick in order to get what we wanted at the cheapest price and to get back home in time to have dinner underway.

There was a saying in our family that was often repeated by my parents – “Never mind the noise in the market, just worry about the price of the fish.” It’s one of those mantras that I will never forget.

To me it is about the importance of keeping a sense of purpose, a clear vision and the need to never lose perspective on what our role is.

Amidst the on-court dramas of last Friday, a great story unfolded in the stands. A story worth telling…

A boy not much older than six was in the stands that night. Moments before the game started his distraught mother ran down to the venue staff with news that her boy had dislocated his knee.

Members of Challenge staff were prompt to act and they immediately called for an ambulance to get the boy to hospital. When the young boy was told of what was happening he cried even harder to his mum to cancel the ambulance. “I’m not leaving the game,” he said. “I want to watch the Wildcats, cancel the ambulance, the pain is bearable we can go after the game.”

So with great reluctance the ambulance was cancelled and the boy stayed. One of my staff found a corporate box near the court and got the boy and his mother into it, so they could enjoy it in greater comfort. Jesse Wagstaff went to see him with a signed basketball to show our gratitude for his enthusiasm and dedication as a fan.

When I heard the story after the game in our match de-brief, I was touched. We often hear such amazing stories and its moments like these that not only bring a tear to our eye as administrators but more importantly ground us on why it is we really exist: to inspire and entertain through excellence!

We may have lost the game and our egos may have taken a battering that night, but amidst all the noise, I think all of us in the Wildcats organisation got a reality check on the ‘price of the fish’.

On this occasion though, I think we were the ones that were inspired – to try harder on and off the court to fulfil our mission every day.