Disney World Diary: How sticky notes help spread love on NBA campus

ORLANDO, Fla. — It is great to be loved, to know that someone cares, to feel the warm embrace 24/7, to realize you’re never alone, especially here inside this makeshift NBA ecosystem created by a pandemic.

Each time I walk past room 4165, the love comes my way, right from the front door. That’s where a handful of yellow sticky pads are arranged to form a heart shape, and inspirational messages are scribbled on each pad.

This display isn’t meant just for whomever lives inside the room. This is meant for everyone of us on the property, strangers from all over the country thrown together by chance, united in our effort to see the NBA season completed, determined to stay safe and mainly to stay sane.

We all share the same challenges no matter our genders, race and faith. You might say we’re sticky-ied together. Is it possible to take this concept to the outside world once we’re done here at Disney?

I did something similar for my daughter when she went through major surgeries in high school which threatened to steal her running career. Each week during her rehab, I wrote something inspirational on a sticky and placed it on her bathroom mirror. After four months the mirror was almost covered, save for a small spot in the middle that I spared so she could see her face.

She never said anything — teenagers are weird like that — but because she left them on the mirror for almost a year, I kinda think she appreciated the gesture.

Anyway, we here at Disney appreciate room 4165 for the therapy and giving us a reason for hope. Here are some of the sticky sayings:

“Happiness is not in another place, but this place … not for another hour, but this hour.”

“What matters isn’t ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ What matters is ‘Am I better than yesterday?’”

“What if I fail? Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

“The bad news is nothing lasts forever. The good news is nothing lasts forever.”

“Rule No. 1: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule No. 2: It’s all small stuff.”

You get the message — or rather, messages. Too often, and maybe it’s human nature, we dwell on the negative, become buried in pessimism, surrender to our fears, fail to search frantically for solutions and don’t realize how each day and moment brings another chance for something better.

This inflicts even the successful folks in life. For example, the NBA is comprised of the best basketball players in the world. However, if they miss 10 straight shots, they’ll likely shy away from taking another, fearing that another miss might not sit well with the coach, their teammates and the creatures on social media.

In a time of turbulence where politics and health seem to collide and try to divide us, it’s more important now than ever to seek solutions and a common ground against those and other forces. I’m a big believer that love is much more powerful and present than what we’re led to believe by folks pushing agendas and narratives.

That’s why there’s a heart-shape group of stickies on a hotel door that I subscribe to. What’s interesting is there’s also a Do Not Disturb sign hanging on the doorknob right now. I should respect it and give the complete stranger his or her privacy.

But I bet if I did knock, that door with the stickies would open. And I would be welcomed inside.

* * *

Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him  here, find his archive here  and follow him on  Twitter .

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. 

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