Take the Shot

In south central Los Angeles, the gang violence was so bad after 6:00 pm that if you even looked like you were in a gang you could be picked up and taken to jail.

Despite the gun shots and the violence, every evening I needed to spend time working on the fundamentals of my game. It was boring, monotonous, and just plain dangerous to be out on the courts.

But how could I go to school the next day and tell my coach that I had an excuse why I didn’t do my two hours of homework and the two hours of skill and fundamentals on the court. My coach was of the school of thought that champions find ways to create greatness. Competitors find ways to just compete.

So many of my friends and fellow athletes lived there lives by making excuses about why they couldn’t achieve. Unfortunately for them they were surrounded by people who endorsed their behavior and never set acceptable boundaries for them and their goals dreams and aspirations.

My coach wanted me to be more than just an athlete. He wanted me to be a productive member of society. He wanted me to hold myself accountable for all my actions and decisions. He put the ball in my hands and said take the shot, but only if you are prepared to live with the result.

You can’t turn on the TV, Radio, or pick up a newspaper after the weekend of sport to hear that some high profile athlete has once again let him or herself down because of the personal boundaries that they have crossed.

To be blessed to have the talent to display in sport is a privilege and a honor. The responsibility of converting that talent into service to the community and humankind is a gift from God.

I have coached, played, worked and mentored successful athletes. All athletes have the capacity to reach and maintain a high level of self discipline in their sport or arena.

Just imagine if they could transcend that feeling and status into all areas of there lives.