The Iceman cometh!

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shabazz4

It has been a little over two weeks since the UConn men’s basketball team turned everyone’s NCAA brackets into confetti by going on an improbable run.  The city of Boston, especially those who reside in the inner city are still beaming with pride as they watched  Shabazz Napier  the leader of the team shine on the biggest stage and named the most outstanding player of the tournament. I am still waiting to learn of the date when Shabazz will be invited to throw out the first pitch at an upcoming Boston Red Sox game, surely they will extend an invite to a favorite son.

Shabazz was the quintessential  “Ice Man” during the tournament , he was calm under pressure , not afraid of the big moment , was willing to take and make the big shot when his team needed a lift and his poise during adversity is something you learn while growing up in the projects.  Personally I do not know Napier but I have friends and associates that do, he and I do share one thing in common, we both grew up in Mission Hill and for that reason I am proud of what he accomplished.

Another benefit of the championship run and Shabazz’s play was his opportunity to use the moment as a platform to highlight a couple of items that I hope do not get lost after the hoopla has faded.

1. Shabazz Napier stayed in school the full four years and will graduate on time with a meaningful degree in sociology

2. shabazz cleanDespite his tough upbringing Shabazz was able to assimilate at a PWI (predominately white institution) and did not lose his street credibility or swag.  He did not wear his uniform shorts below his waist,  there was no frohawk hair  cut and his image was clean cut.  His effort, talent and skills made his  statements on the court while remaining a team player not a me first self  promoting spectacle. I hope the parents and coaches of the next generation of  talented athletes from communities across the country will point this fact out  to their budding superstars, it should be an expectation and demand  they go to school and actually be a student, their futures are too valuable to leave to chance, besides the coaches they play for are taking care of their families and providing for their children’s educational future off their labor.

3. Shabazz was able to push the NCAA into changing the meal plan allowed for division one student-athletes after his infamous ” I go to bed starving” statement hit social media.  On April 15, 2014 the NCAA council approved of a new plan that will give the student-athletes unlimited meals and snacks.

4. Shabazz called out the NCAA for banning the Huskies who under Coach Jim Calhoun leadership failed to meet the NCAA Academic progress rate. I think he was trying to share one of the motivating forces that helped fuel their run to the championship after being banned a year ago.  But should the NCAA be vilified for holding schools accountable to ensure their student-athletes are making actual progress towards a degree ? and let’s be honest as long as the ban only effected historically black colleges and universities(the majority of the institutions on the list of banned schools ;for another conversation), it was not taken seriously, not until UConn became the new poster child, that was a wake up call for the other major institutions to allocate the necessary resources to ensure they don’t miss out on the millions to be lost, should they receive the same fate.

shabazz ollie

We must not forget the real reason many of us make sacrifices to afford our children the opportunity to attend higher education learning centers; to become equipped with the needed skills to compete in a global world one in which the united states is lagging.  Yes it’s great if your child is afforded the opportunity to attend a school on an athletic scholarship, its saves you thousands of dollars, prestige and fame, perhaps a chance to go onto the professional leagues. But for many of these students in particular black males once they have exhausted their athletic eligibility at the college level, the ball will stop bouncing sooner rather than later.  There will be no major bowl appearances, and living in what I call an “Illusion” (best hotels, medical services, food, travel accommodations, adulation of fans and media, etc) will cease.  They will return to the same dilapidated communities and face a harsh reality.

Congrats Shabazz not only have you made the city of Boston proud, your impact on the next generation will go further than any championship run could ever go, I pray that you surround yourself with wise counsel at the next level, you are an excellent role model for the often used cliche “It’s not where you start , it’s where you end that matters”.

shabazz sports illustrated

Nobody beats the King!

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“If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength”

Proverbs 24:10

As I awoke from a quick nap just in time to watch the final moments of game 5 of the NBA finals, I felt a sense of joy and jubilation, not because I’m a fan of the heat, rather for the vindication of Lebron James.  It was no secret to those in my circle that I was pulling for him to capture his first championship.  Lebron’s victory is an example of how faith and mercy can propel many of us to the finish line.  This young man has faced so much scrutiny for making a business decision , one which proved to be correct, that he’s become public enemy #1.

What I admire most about Lebron was the maturity he’s displayed this season,he    answered the critics including myself who questioned whether he had that X factor true champions exhibit during the clutch. He showed great humility, Romans 12:3 warns us not to think more highly of ourselves a lesson Lebron forgot last season. In his own words he did a lot of soul searching after last seasons embarrassing championship defeat and you can see he was humbled.  God will move when you remove yourself out of the equation and remember he’s the reason  you are in the position to receive the blessing.  Lebron did prophesy that he would bring another championship to Miami , but he was relying on his strength and talent to carry him to the top and less on the God who gave him the talent.   James 1:17-18 reminds us that every good and perfect gift is from above.

As I watched the Heat’s run to the championship, one thought kept replaying in my mind, it was a word that God revealed to me weeks before during a Wednesday night Bible study, God said to me “perseverance is an action word people get stuck and quit when times are tough, but those who experience the joy of the Lord are those who continue to walk in faith”. Lebron’s quest for that elusive ring bore this out. If anyone had reasons to doubt and accept mediocrity or fall victim to all of the negative voices it was Lebron, however he kept walking, kept believing and continued to work he didn’t sit with his hands tied waiting on God to move, he removed his ego and followed that up with action, once he moved God had no choice but to move, God reminded me that blessings come after an act of obedience, well done Lebron, just remember there is only one KING!

A Rainbow is still present through the clouds

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“Do Not fear little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom”

Luke 12:32

How did I end up in this situation is the question that keeps rewinding and playing over and over again in my mind. Its like having the same track on a CD loop continuously and there’s no one to turn it off.  What situation you may ask? How did I end up in the position of making a transition in my career with no sure back up plan.  There’s no easy answer to the question, as many of you can attest life just happens, there are peaks and valleys we all experience.   For me it’s a matter of timing one day I’m working at a college institution doing what I love administration and coaching the next day I’m tired of the same routine and feel a strong desire for a change and a move to the next level so I leave.  Is this God’s plan? was I crazy to take this leap of faith, believing that the doors of opportunity would open once I left my previous job in search of greener pastures. if so how can this be?  I battle the spirit of fear constantly, yet there is a sense of adventure in all of this.  I’ve made the final cut for the position of Athletic Director at two institutions, which is encouraging yet disappointing after not landing either.  God are you sure my next stop is to become a full time administrator I ask?

This time in my life is what I like to call my “Job” moment.  Job was a man of character in the Bible who had everything going for him, until the Devil convinced God to remove the protective hedge from around his life. It was at that moment the Devil was confident Job would curse God once he was overcome with calamity. Have you ever asked the question why do bad things happen to good people?  Instead of blaming God for allowing all of the terrible things that took place, Job proved to be a man of incredible faith. He sought God’s presence even more during the trying times and continued to give God thanks for all that he had, can you imagine that you lose everything and continue to thank God?  A pastor of a local church that has become a good friend, put it this way, “Most people shrink or move further away from God when tough times strike, and they should do the complete opposite, that’s the time to move closer”

I have to disclose when I did not land the positions I was in no mood to celebrate God, however over the past few weeks, things have been put into perspective, its not the end of the world and quite a number of colleague, friends and others who care about me, have said there is something better for you. I have a hard time believing that, but if I’m really a man of faith it is now “D” day.  Do I believe in the word of God that he will reward my faithfulness and take care of me or do I believe that he has abandoned me?  The world did not end when I received the disappointing news, the sun continues to shine, my family loves me, I’m still impacting young people, I’m not broke (yet) and my health is very good. Despite not knowing where this journey will take me and where I’ll land, when I think about everything that I have going for me there is plenty to give thanks for.

Graduation is the start of a new journey

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Wow It’s been a long time since I had the chance to post a new article. I’ve been busy studying and writing for the Ministry Classes, there has been little or no time to write for fun and relaxation.  This time of the year is always a busy, yet joyous time for many people as they prepare for graduations and similar ceremonies. During this time of the year I often receive invitations to speak to groups during their commencement exercises. This is something that I humbly look forward to as I still can’t believe people think I have something noteworthy to share with the next generation.  My next event is coming up in four days, I plan to share the following Wisdom Nuggets that I’ve adopted and crafted over the years with the graduating class.

1. There are two critical words you should have in your vocabulary as you climb the ladder of success (Help & Thank You)

2. As you move forward, don’t forget to look back there are always others in your family, neighborhood, community and block that need you to reach back

3. Take advantage of opportunities that come your way, and if there are none create one by volunteering and being of service to others (you can’t go wrong with this one)

4. Make a habit of finishing and completing whatever task, mission or goal you undertake, no matter how long it takes or the cost. Seeing it through to the end takes discipline but it’s well worth the effort. Many people never get to experience the benefits of a project or goal because they simply walk away or move on to the next thing that excites them.

Congratulations to all of the Graduates of 2011!

The game has never been the same!

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With the recent completion of the NBA All Star game held in Dallas, TX in which the East edged the West squad 141-139 and Dwyane Wade being named the MVP and the upcoming Frenzy aka March Madness, I thought it was fitting to remember the first African American that broke the color barrier in the sport of Basketball.                                                        

Harry Haskell “Bucky” Lew (January 4, 1884 in Lowell, Massachusetts – 1963) was the first African American to play in a professional basketball game. Lew played in a New England League game for Lowell against Marlborough on November 2, 1902, the first documented instance of an African-American playing in a professional basketball game. Harry Lew was born in Lowell in 1884 to an African-American family with a long and illustrious history in Massachusetts. His great-great-grandfather, Barzillai Lew, was a free black man who purchased the freedom of his future wife for $400. A gifted musician, he served in the Revolutionary War. He played the fife at the Battle of Bunker Hill, and years later at General Burgoyne’s surrender after the Battle of Saratoga. Harry Lew’s grandparents’ home in Lowell was a stop on the Underground Railroad. His father, William, was a delegate to the 1891 Equal Rights Convention in Boston.

He came of age in the Jim Crow era when “separate but equal” kept blacks and whites in different worlds, in the North as well as the South. Breaking the color barrier on a Lowell basketball court was not easy. Bucky Lew was a talented musician—he played a violin solo at his graduation from Lowell High School — an excellent student, and an extraordinary basketball player. According to one of his teammates, he was “the best double dribbler he had ever seen” (double dribbling was legal at the time). A brilliant defensive player, he was always chosen to guard the best player on any opposing team. But when Lew first took the court against white men, his skillful play was met with jeers and racial slurs.

After leading the local YMCA team to a Merrimack Valley championship, he played defense for the Pawtucketville Athletic Club in the New England Basketball League. When the League folded, Lew stayed in the game, working as a player and general manager for his own Lowell-based teams. In 1928, he moved to Springfield. One of the pioneers of basketball, he has never been inducted into the Hall of Fame, located just a few miles from where he spent the last 35 years of his life. Years later “Bucky” Lew reminisced about that first game. On November 2, 1902, his team, Lowell’s Pawtucketville Athletic Club, faced a team from Marlborough. He remembered that his manager was reluctant to let him play against white boys. But Lew was a hometown boy, and “some of the local papers put the pressure on by demanding that they give this little Negro from around the corner a chance to play. Well, at first the team just ignored the publicity. But a series of injuries forced the manager to take me on for the Marlborough game.”

Lew was supposed to be the extra man, and to spend the game sitting on the bench, but then one of the starting players was injured. At first the manager refused to put him in. “He let them play us five on four,” Lew remembered, “but the fans got real mad and almost started a riot, screaming to let me play. That did it. I went in there and you know… all those things you read about Jackie Robinson, the abuse, the name-calling, extra effort to put him down … they’re all true. I got the same treatment and even worse … I took the bumps, the elbows in the gut, knees here and everything else that went with it. But I gave it right back. It was rough but worth it. Once they knew I could take it, I had it made.” This was only the first of Lew’s encounters with racist opponents and fans. “Nobody ever voiced an objection to playing against him as a black player until they played him and he would shut down their best player… Then all of a sudden, they would say, we don’t want to play against a Negro player. They just used that tactic to get him off the court for the next game.”

After Lew played one year with the Lowell team and two years for a Haverhill team, the New England League disbanded. Lew formed and traveled with his own team, playing and coaching, for another 20 years.

Photo and story courtesy of hoopedia.com

How to Win in 2010

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2 Corinthians 8:10-11

“and in this, I give advice it is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago, but now you also must complete the doing of it!

 

What is it about the start of a new year that brings about a renewed sense of hope and causes people to stop and reflect on their life or current situation, why is it that we wait until the start of a new year to set resolutions or goals. Question is it really a new goal if you keep rehashing the same ones over and over again? You know the ones I’m referring to lose weight, save money, better relationships, new job or career, etc.  Maybe it has something to do with the season as many parts of the country are experiencing a deep freeze that forces us indoors where we have time to reflect on our success and shortcomings from the previous year.  I to was among the masses who rode the new year’s resolution merry go round, until 2009 when I shifted my focus and tried a new approach, one that would help me actually achieve some of my goals including the publishing of “An Unsung Coach”

This year if you really want to see a difference in your life and actually accomplish some of the goals you set forth , instead of just  broadly writing your goals down on a piece of paper that eventually ends up in your sock drawer or the trash receptacle make your goals specific how many pounds will you lose by June 30th, how much money will you have saved at the end of 3 months, what type of training or certification do you need to get ahead in your present occupation, then  mentally condition yourself to embrace the philosophy of finishing what you start.  If you make this simple strategic change, you will be well ahead of over 90 Plus percent of the population in reaching your goals.

Transitioning to this philosophy will not be easy, in fact it will require lots of practice and discipline to become a habit, habits are those things we do so often that that they become a part of our normal routine without much thought like driving the same route to work each day, brushing your teeth, watching your favorite television show, but if the goals you desire are worth having they are worth putting in the time and effort to make them a reality. Everyone of us is guilty of starting something we never saw to completion perhaps a new business venture, piecing together your family tree, writing a  new song, going back to school,  and we had every intention of completing it, we were filled with passion and enthusiasm, we researched every detail to the point we experienced sensory overload, then after a few months, we lose steam and eventually move on to something else, often times at the expense of never seeing the benefits of bringing the current project into fruition. In this country we love to boast about how we can multi-task however most successful people, people that have built multi-million dollar corporations or head large corporations will tell you the key to their success were in focusing on one task at a time and seeing it through despite the distractions and excuses.

So as you review your New Year’s list of resolutions and prepare to embark on the journey of making 2010 the year you can’t lose, adopt the principle that has helped me and countless others establish a new definition of success, finish whatever you start and next year at this time when you reflect on the year, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come and how talented you truly are!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to keep your spiritual tank full, when you’re running on empty!

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Revelations 3:8

“I know your works. See, I have set before you and open door, and no one can shut it.

 

Well it’s been over two months since the release of “An Unsung Coach” and the quest to market promote and share the message or as I like to say the ministry of the books contents has been filled with peaks and valleys.  As a novice to the publishing game, I had no idea how difficult it would be to get the book “out there”. Of course the road would be much smoother if I had a major publishing engine paving the way, but alas my works are self published.  I cannot tell you the hundreds of emails, phone calls, and announcements I have sent to  the major networks, publications,  television and radio personalities  many whom claim to care about the community only to receive no or minimal response.  Honestly at times I wonder if it’s all worth it, I thought I was doing what God would have me do and share my testimony  and message of encouragement on how to overcome tremendous odds to create your own definition of success, but why has it been so HARD to get the message out there?

Maybe it’s because I’m not a celebrity, maybe it’s because no one wants to admit there is a problem, borderline epidemic that thousands of young people are pinning their futures on becoming pro-athletes or entertainers to no avail without a back up plan.  Maybe if I spread gossip, or slandered someone’s name, talked about all of the stuff we now call news, I’d become the next great literary sensation with a calendar filled with events and appearances.  I just don’t get it at times I feel like scrapping the whole mission and jumping on the “Give the people what they want” bandwagon.  But this is not who I am,  it’s funny whenever I encounter the detour of self defeat, God will send a friendly, but much needed GPS signal that directs me back to the right road. A couple of days ago, while shopping at the local grocery store, a young girl no older than 10 approached  me , looked up as  if I were a giant standing over 8 feet tall, I suspect from her  point of view  I was as she barely came to my waist and gleefully stated “I remember you, you spoke to my class” I was taken aback , this elementary aged child remembered me coming to her classroom to share the popular TPC principles which I share in the book with her classmates  and that was over eight months ago, coincidentally I also received a wonderful surprise in the mail this week, it was an envelope containing a couple of letters and reviews written by students from the various schools I visited throughout the year,  they had to answer the following question, of all the speakers who visited your class this year who was your favorite and why? They also had to rank the speakers; low and behold I ranked as the number one speaker and the favorite of quite a few.  

These two experiences coupled with recent invites and requests for appearances instantly refueled my spiritual engines to continue with this labor of love.   I leave you with this thought; the results you seek when trying to fulfill your purpose may be slow to come and at times will cause you to question if you are in fact walking in the right direction, but don’t give up, if God gave you the vision press on, an keep your eyes and ears open as the rewards may come in small packages!

Marching to your Destiny through the Madness!

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March Madness has officially started the time of year when thousands of avid and casual fans are watching each game with the intense focus that serious investors exhibit when watching the ticker symbols scroll across.  Fans are monitoring the results of each game to see if there picks are holding up true to form or if their brackets just went Bust!  Each year I tell myself that I’m not going to watch much of this hype driven hoop frenzy which is strange since I’m a college basketball coach, maybe it’s because at this point of the year I’m experiencing the wear and tear of a long season spent coaching my own squad. Yet the allure of watching the games somehow always creeps into my living room and before you know it, hours have passed and there I sit on the edge of my couch shouting at the television set offering coaching suggestions.

There is no question March Madness represents different things to different sectors of people for many it represents Big Business, just look at the commercials in between games, same for merchandising, while some watch to familiarize themselves with the next generation of NBA stars, others watch because of school pride and lastly the games serve as a temporary diversion from the troubled economy. I on the other hand watch the games for another reason; I enjoy watching a collective group of individuals work together and demonstrate what you can achieve with preparation and Faith, not Luck despite the predictions of the experts. This is the time of the year when millions of fans become familiar with a school or players who have flown under the radar screen for most of the season; we watch them become overnight heroes.  For me the attraction of the games comes down to the unfolding story line “small school over achieves and defeats Big time University” Besides like many Americans I love cheering for the underdog and seeing the “nobody’s of the college basketball world” stick it to the Big Dogs. There’s something exhilarating about watching that happen right before your eyes.  There is also a spiritual principle we can learn through watching the triumphs of the Cinderella’s of the big dance.

I’m referencing a story found in the book of Numbers from the bible, chapter 13 it’s the story of Moses sending out a team of individuals to go and spy a land that was promised to his people, the land was beautiful filled with resources a virtual paradise, however when the team returned the majority came back with a negative story based on Fear (they saw giants) and did not think they could overcome these mighty people to possess the land.  The naysayers spread their message of doubt and unbelief, amongst the rest of the people convincing them to give up their hopes and dreams of a better life, despite seeing evidence to the contrary.  But a couple of the spies came back with a different perspective, yes they saw the same giants the others witnessed, but they still believed they could win they knew they were prepared and the desire to taste victory was a strong enough motivating factor to press on.  Today many of us face are facing scary and tumultuous times filled with uncertainty, yet the will to succeed and not live a life of fear has to be great enough to overcome the negative reports we are constantly bombarded with. I encourage you not to succumb to the reports of the doomsayers. You have to adopt the same philosophy the small programs have that win in the NCAA tournament, when no one else believes in you or gives you a chance, step onto the court of life with confidence and take your best shot!

The Essence of a Single Victory

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Oh No! was my initial reaction as the referee made his way to the scorer’s table and signaled the foul on blue # 22, which was his 5th foul disqualifying my son Michael from the game with 3:03 left on the game clock.  What made this foul tough were the limited options of replacement players to come in and take his place amongst the “Shockers” junior college roster, they were especially scarce at inside players.  Another factor that made this foul and its implication loom large was the fact the team was on the verge of winning their first game of the season.  To the teams credit the remaining players held together and withstood a furious run down the stretch by the home team as they realized the game was getting away from them, as the clock wound down 10, 9, 8, and the final buzzer sounded the players joy of lifting that monkey off their back was all too evident, it was as if they won a championship game. The exuberance was something to behold as these young men along with the coaches and fans breathed a collective sigh of relief of not going 0 for the season i.e. Detroit Lions. You are probably wondering why is winning one game a big deal?  First you have to consider the pain, agony and embarrassment this team experienced to start the season and prior to this game, they were 0-8 and lost most of the games by 20 plus points.  Coincidentally a few days earlier I had a conversation with Mike about the team’s record, which he did not want to discuss and purposely blocked out of his mind, I asked about the teams psyche after starting the season in such a dismal fashion.  He expressed what I already knew and witnessed from the stands; morale was low, the game they loved was no longer fun and despite the season just getting under way it already seemed too long, the players dreaded everything from practice, listening to the coach scream, to the long van rides to some of the most destitute places only to come back with another “L” on their record. 

I’m sure the team that lost to the Shockers on this night all but had this game neatly wrapped and packaged before it started. I can’t say I blame them given the fact that Mike’s team had not won a game and were getting blown out; surely they would not lose to them? To make things more interesting there were some internal conflicts on the Shockers that finally manifested a couple of days before the game. Half of the players on the team quit, they couldn’t take losing so they simply walked away. How is it that people can justify quitting as the best solution, unless you are referring to harmful addictions, is beyond me, I think quitting is a selfish act in most cases but it happens. Those players are alike so many when things get tough and their dreams are deferred; they gave up and quit.  The ironic twist to this story is that some of the remaining players  started the season so far down on the bench you’d need a GPS system to locate them, but they stuck it out. What does that say about their character? As a coach I know the importance of having talent, but I also understand that chemistry is the key ingredient for any team’s success whether you are talking sports or business.  The 8 players who stayed found a common cause and a bond, they competed twice as hard and showed some fight that was clearly lacking in the previous games, they played with something to prove. I was amazed at the 180 degree turn around and determination this small group of players displayed and to see their efforts rewarded with their first win of the season was very emotional. These young men had the chance to experience something the other players who gave up didn’t a victory. What a great affirmation of a life lesson. Success rarely comes to those who lack the toughness and discipline to push through the obstacles and challenges standing in the way of their Goals and Dreams. The Shockers pushed through and on this night walked away Winners!   

A Coach’s Words

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“Words can either Inspire or Douse the fire of the Receiver”

                                                                                                                        Tony Price    

    What an amazing feeling I just experienced, as I wiped the sweat from my brow and headed for the exit door. I just wrapped up one of the most fulfilling experiences I’ve had in a while as the guest speaker at a local school in the City of Boston. I was there to speak to the 5th grade class as part of a program called “If they  made it, so can I” www.theymadeitsocani.org  this program is the divinely inspired creation of a dynamic woman named Patricia Spence and should be replicated throughout the country. The premise of the program is for professional adults to come and share their life story of how they got to where they are today beginning with their own 5th grade experience.  After a rousing introduction, Pat’s a great hype person and would be great on a hip hop tour, I walked through the classroom door to the amazement of the students who marveled at my height.  I began to address the class and share my story of growing up in Mission Hill one of Boston’s most notorious housing projects, avoiding the pitfalls that rob so many of their potential and share how the 5th grade was the last time I was in the advance class, because growing up know one explained to me that it was possible to be both smart and cool I also shared my TPC principle’s of Talent, Purpose, Calling.

      There was a young man in the class named Isaiah (not his real name) who inspired to be a pro ball player as did a few others, no surprise as we unfortunately know our young people overwhelmingly think that success is tied to a sports or entertainment career, This brazen young man  sat straight up in his chair and stated to me that he thought he could beat me in a game of one on one, immediately his class mates erupted in laughter they riddled him with jokes and comments about how I would Kill him, even the administrator who  was present at the time mentioned that I was at least 4 feet taller than he, immediately Isaiah’s countenance change and his body language reflected the loss of confidence.  I sprang into action and came to his defense and told him that it’s great he thought he could beat me in a game of basketball, he set his bar of success high, he thought of me as the ultimate challenge. I then followed up with these words “Isaiah it doesn’t matter what others think about your goals and dreams, what matters most is what you believe and if you think you can beat me, don’t let others discourage you”.  Instantly I could see the rush of confidence return. How many of us can relate to what Isaiah experienced? Or perhaps your words discouraged someone else from pursuing their dream.  At the conclusion of my talk, the principal asked if I wouldn’t mind playing basketball with a few of the students in the gym, and though I was clearly not dressed to play, I said of course, because Isaiah would be one of the students who participated, and you know what despite the odds being stacked against me, it was 3 on 1. I had a great time.

   As for Isaiah that young man got game, as he displayed a variety of ball handling skills straight from the And 1 mix tour, along with a consistent jump shot from 15 feet, imagine if he came to the gym having the last words spoken to him be the jokes and comments made by his fellow classmates at the thought of him beating me and I didn’t pick him back up. I think the game would have turned out differently.   As a coach I often remind the athletes in my program that in order for us to achieve our goals, we have to have a strong belief in what we think about ourselves, despite what the critics say, this season we were chosen to finish 7th in the pre-season polls, however to date we are off to a 2-0 start, here’s hoping we keep believing in the powerful words within that say we can become Champions.