Coach Omar Linton was a legend in our town. He taught my boys about LIFE and happened to do so while teaching them the great game of basketball.
Omar also always took the time to be gracious to me, their mom. He stopped, he connected, and he built a relationship of trust and respect. Whenever I asked Omar how he was doing, his answer would steadfastly be, “I am so blessed, and I am grateful.” Omar Linton lived his life with the highest degrees of integrity, values and faith. As my boys would say, Omar was a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)!
For almost a decade, before he was called up to the big hoop game in the sky, Omar would work with my boys on the court. They would do drills and learn to focus, to defend, to dribble and to shoot. I loved overhearing the practice when I would come to pick up the boys. Omar would get into not just the fundamentals of basketball but also, and more importantly, the inner game of what was swirling in their heads. What were they thinking? What were their fears? What was holding them back? Where did they need to reframe their mindset and do some hard work on themselves?
According to Bob Anderson and Bill Adams in Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results:
We are always playing two games—an outer and inner game. The outer game of leadership consists of using all of our knowledge and experience, as well as our technical, managerial, and leadership competence, to accomplish results. The all-consuming outer game is obviously where most leaders spend most of their time, since the day-to-day requirements of the outer game are fierce and the learning curve is steep.
Most efforts to develop mastery in leadership focus on the outer game of competence with little focus on the inner game of consciousness. Yet what we hold in our consciousness tends to manifest, meaning that the inner game runs the outer game. Until we take a more balanced approach—one that evolves both the inner and outer game (consciousness and competence) simultaneously—we will falter in developing leaders at the accelerated pace required.
Omar understood the importance of balancing the outer game of competence with the inner game of consciousness, and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for imparting that priceless wisdom to my boys.
Omar left us on August 12, 2021, and we are all still reeling with shock and heartbreak. To see my boys achingly bid farewell to someone they loved and experience death for the first time was just tragic, even though it paled in comparison to the pain we saw in the eyes of Omar’s amazing family.
A beautiful tribute, even the service was planned to focus on the inner game and the importance of our mindset. At the service, we received a lovely note that Omar prepared. In it, he shared:
“….There are rocky roads ahead for you and many hills to climb,
Together, we can do it, taking one day at a time.
It was my philosophy, and please, I’d like for you to give unto the world
so the world will give to you.” -Levar Omar Linton
Coach, thank you for the inspiration that transcends death.
In your honor, we will lift each other up, and we will pay close attention to our inner game to play our best outer game. The photo of you hanging on our wall will forever remind us to do good and give all we can to this world. Your life was a slam dunk.
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Leigh Ann Errico