[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]When I was 16 and still not on my high school’s basketball team, I played for the local 16-and-under rec team at Finley Playground in my Mt. Airy neighborhood. I was a solid, if unspectacular, contributor for the first couple games of the season before Finley hosted a Christmas tournament for our age group.
We failed to hold down our home court, getting eliminated before the finals of the event. Leaving the locker room after our loss, I joked to a teammate that we lost only because I hadn’t been getting the ball enough.
Now, the locker room was right next to the coach’s office; we had to walk through the coach’s office to get out of the building.
“What’d you say, Dre?”
One of the Finley coaches — not my team’s coach; there were four coaches at Finley, each coaching different teams — had been sitting in the locker room and heard my off-hand comment.
“I said, we lost because they didn’t give me the ball.”
I knew the coach had clearly heard what I said the first time. He’d only asked me to repeat myself because he wanted to see how firmly I would stand on my words. When I unflinchingly repeated myself, the coach didn’t say anything, he just looked at me. I didn’t say anything either. I turned and walked home.
Coaches talk amongst themselves.
About a week later, after New Years, our 16-and-under club reconvened for practice for the remainder of our season. My team’s coach pulled me aside before practice.
“Dre, you talk a lot about what you can do — I’m gonna give you a chance to prove it. We gonna get you the ball and see what you can really do.”
That conversation, and the rest of my season with that team, was a huge breakthrough for me in basketball.
The team actually ran plays designed for me to shoot — and I made the shots! Opposing teams came into games planning to stop me. My team depended on me to deliver, and I (often, not every time) did.
I made my high school varsity the following Fall, and even though I did very little by way of performance that season, it didn’t really matter. By then, I knew I had the game to play college ball, and I had proof — in my mind — that I could back up my talk.
For Your Game
Get the full Daily Game, including the three “For Your Game” Daily takeaways, every day to your inbox. Your first 30 Days are on me — FREE.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Subscibe to The Daily Game” color=”info” size=”lg” align=”center” i_icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-chevron-right” button_block=”true” add_icon=”true” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fworkonyourgameu.com%2Fdaily-game-order-form|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]