I love basketball. I played city league basketball when I was growing up in Birmingham. I also coached over 10 years of basketball. I continue to love to watch the March madness basketball tournament. Now, I have grandkids that play basketball and having coached and played just adds to the enrichment of watching from the sidelines.
Caroline, one of my granddaughters, played in a game this weekend that I will never forget for the rest of my life. She is eight years old and plays on her school team. It is ok for me to tell you that she also happens to be one of the best players on her team. She has natural talent.
This weekend, she played her best game ever and for her team, this was the best comeback I have ever witnessed with teams playing at this age level. The score was 7 to 1 in the second half and it did not seem possible that Caroline’s team had enough time to come back if they even had the ability.
Late in the game, Caroline scored a basket that made it 7 to 3. Then she was fouled and went to the foul line for two shots. She made them both and I have to tell you that most kids this age do not make any of their foul shots. In the final minute of regulation play, she stole the ball and scored to tie the game. She was jumping in the air with excitement. Her grandfather was jumping in the air too.
Then, in overtime, she stole the ball once again and scored the go ahead basket. The team would never give up the lead and the game ended 11 to 7. I was hoarse from hollering so much. It dawned on me that I had a speaking engagement later that day. Fortunately, I did regain my voice.
A basketball game can teach us a lot about life. Never giving up despite the odds or the circumstances could easily be taught to those that were part of this game. Both players and fans would easily hear this lesson. Why? Because we were there and we saw and experienced with our own eyes. I believe that these moments are special. In fact, they are opportunities for our entire life.
There will come countless times in our life that our back will be to the wall. The odds will be against us and at the time, we will not know the outcome. It is at these times that belief in ourselves and others (our team) really matters. Sometimes, in life, our beliefs may be the only thing we have going in a most difficult situation. Belief is a thing. It is so much of a thing that I find it almost tangible. Almost touchable. In the basketball game this weekend, belief was certainly visible to the fans that watched. You could have reached out and touched it.
Belief is that magic on the basketball court that drove my young grandchild to continue playing until the job was done and the victory preserved. Every person has had this magic at some time in their life. Everyone has felt victory when it did not look possible. These moments are teaching moments. As students in life, we can take these moments in history, and bring them along to teach us and encourage us whenever life challenges us. There are no small moments in life. Each time we experience these moments, we should sear them into our memory. They can become tools for winning in life.
It is human nature for us to expect failure when times are tough. It is counter culture to expect success when the odds do not look good. That’s when we call on our memory and we fall back on belief.
What do you believe? I believe in winning. I see it. I feel it. I sense it.
Winning is believing. Believing is winning.
In basketball and in life, never give up.
This is an excerpt from the book, “There Are No Small Moments” Buy now.