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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jake's Take: Hoosiers - Just Start Shooting

Deriving financial insights from today's blockbusters and yesteryear's classics.

Jake's Take: Hoosiers
My wife will be the first to tell you that her husband is very weird. There’s two things about me that are fairly odd that, frankly, not even I understand.

  1. I hate professional sports, which is strange because I grew up in a family of people who were always rooting for someone—Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics. Even my sister likes sports more than me.

  2. But I love sports movies. I find them to be some of the most feel-good and inspiring movies around—A League of Their Own, The Rookie, Major League.

So, yeah. Hate sports. Love sports movies. Weird. I know.

It’s kind of a paradox then that I would derive any kind of insight about anything from a movie like Hoosiers, but, let’s face it, Hoosiers is one of the best sports movies ever made, and it contains a great life lesson. It's an oldie, but it's worth seeing if you've never seen it.

In the film, Coach Norman Dale, played by Gene Hackman, coaches a small Indiana high school basketball team all the way to the state championships against all odds. At the finals he walks his team into the gymnasium where they’re going to play the final game. The new gym is huge. A basketball palace, far bigger and more impressive than any gym the tiny high school team has ever seen. It’s not what they’re used to. It’s intimidating.

Coach Dale pulls out a tape measure and has the boys measure the height of the basket and the distance to the foul line, and points out that it is precisely the same as back home. Don’t worry about the size of the gym, he says, just play your game.

Dani and I led a Financial Peace University class at our church this winter, and it has opened our eyes to the wide range of financial backgrounds that people come from. Some people have debt that they can easily pay off within six months or a year; others are facing decades of work. But it pays to remember that no matter how big and scary your situation is, the financial steps to get out of debt are the same no matter what:

  • build your emergency fund
  • use the debt snowball
  • gazelle intensity!

And these steps never fail to help when you use them. When you employ the right practices, it won’t matter if the stadium is a basketball palace or a small Indiana high school. You’ve got the tools. Now start shooting!

Keep pinchin’ :-)

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