I was a junior in high school and I was about 6’5”. I wanted to play basketball. The problem was I weighed 135 pounds. I was fast and I could jump so I thought I could be a guard. Coach James didn’t think so. Of course ball-players in any sport were usually popular so it meant a lot to me.
I started practicing with the team as soon as it was possible and I worked as hard as I could. I was early to practice. I went after the ball like no one else. “Hustle” became my first, middle and last name. Oh, and I ate like nobody’s business. Still all of the signs were there that I wasn’t going to make the team. For one reason we had an incredible number of outstanding players and in fact they would do well in the sectional tournament.
Finally the day for the trimming of the roster came and I shakily approached the list. My name was not on the “cut sheet.” I couldn’t keep a scream of victory from shooting out of my body. However mid scream I saw the sentence “I would like to see Mr. Davis in my office at 4:00.”
I was at his door right on time and quite fearful of the session. “Glad you saw my note,” Coach said. I asked, “Did I not really make the team?” He answered, “Sure, you’re on the team. I want to know if you really want to be.”
Over the next few minutes Coach James told me how impressed he was with my effort and it was as a result of that, I was on the team. He also felt he needed to tell me I would never see a minute of playing time. The players we had were too good and they would still be there when I was a senior.
As my face hit the floor he noted, “I see how you make kids laugh in Speech and Drama. Even the teachers can’t hold back laughing. Further you have a gift in music and I seem to have noticed a couple of young ladies who seem to have a little crush on you.”
What the Coach meant was not to waste time being something I wasn’t but put my effort where I could succeed. I listened to him. My junior and my senior year were both a great deal of fun and yes I did have a few girlfriends.
Often over the years I have found myself on a road that I have no business trying to walk. Because of the coach’s wisdom I know better than to chase the wind.