Way back, I had the opportunity to coach high school and college basketball. I was fortunate to land a head coaching position right out of college at the second smallest school in the state of Wyoming. At that time, the entire high school had 72 kids. Total. That’s it. Yes, seriously. But I loved it and I have to admit I learned so much more from them than they ever learned from me.
Fortunately, there were hard-working ranch and farm kids who were uber talented. No kidding. In my three years there, we went 52-17, went to the state tournament three times, won the state consolation championship my first year, played for and lost the state championship my second year, and won the state championship my third year. Went on to be a graduate assistant at a university, but other than obtaining my master’s degree in counseling, didn’t like the experience. Went back to high school coaching at a Waukesha North in Wisconsin (one of the settings for my crime thriller novels) and eventually got out of coaching altogether. A good run. Lots of fun and fond memories. Lots of stories and great young men I was honored to coach along the way.
I had a coaching philosophy that was a tough sell. I believed the two most important players were the point guard, because he had to be me on the court. He had to be the coach, the cheerleader, and he had to keep his head when everyone else, including me, lost theirs. Gene, Dave, Steve, great point guards. Wouldn’t trade them for any other guys.
The other most important player wasn’t a starter. He was my sixth man. He came off the bench when I needed a fire put out or when we needed a fire started.
Do you know how hard a sell that is? To tell a kid, you’re one of the most important players on the team, but you aren’t going to start? The kid didn’t necessarily buy into it. His parents didn’t buy into it. A real tough, hard sell.
But . . .
Ronny and Tim ended up all-conference in that role. So did Scott. Mike was invaluable and accounted for turning more than one or two games around.
It was A Matter of Perspective.
That formula worked for the teams I coached. The kids had success. I played a lot of kids in each game. Some for a lot of minutes, feeling that I couldn’t take them out of the game. Others, a few minutes here and there, but there were a lot of kids who played in each game. They practiced, they played. Kind of simple for me.
There are two perspectives that have to be taken into account.
The first is the perspective of the starter. Sometimes a star, sometimes a role player, but both start. They join the circle at half-court for the opening tip and both will play a lot of minutes. Accolades accompany their roles. Pats on the back. Fan chants. You get the picture, I’m sure. You probably know a few of those kids back in your own school experience, right?
The second is the perspective of the kid on the bench. Quietly waiting for his or her turn, his or her time to play. Maybe just happy to be on the team and excepting his or her role. Maybe silently brooding and wondering what he or she has to do to be a starter, what he or she has to do to get into the game, what he or she has to do to get a few more minutes.
Pick the sport and pick the gender. In basketball, there are only five guys at any one time on the court. Only five. 32 minutes total, 8 minutes each quarter. Not a lot of time to distribute, is it?
But each kid, each player works hard to his or her ability. Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity not so much. Sort of like life, isn’t it?
Each of us has a talent. Some of us have many talents. Each of us knows someone who we admire and perhaps secretly wish we were more like because he or she can do this and that so well. And then there is that person who has that one thing he or she can do well. Maybe two things, who knows? But the opportunity to display it isn’t there. The right time, the right moment, the right place doesn’t arrive. We seek it, but can’t find it. Other times, we’re denied, unfairly, of an opportunity to shine.
As I said before, a lot like life, isn’t it?
Perhaps each of us can take a little time today, tomorrow, next week or month, to create an opportunity for someone to shine, if even for one moment. To encourage. To lift up. To build up. To take ourselves out of the spotlight in order for the light to shine on someone else. I’m willing to give it a shot. How about you? Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
My book, Caught in a Web has picked up some terrific reviews recently. “…cruelty of bullying, unfairness of dying young, horror of drug addiction; a writer who has seen what he writes about.” Authors Favorites “. . .probes the worlds of teens and gang members...precise, staccato details . . . the right blend of tension and intrigue . . .” Midwest Book Review "Important, nail-biting . . . one of the year's best conspiracy thrillers" Best Thrillers. “An epic journey through the quagmire that teenagers are subjected to in today’s schools . . . focuses on inexplicable issues where there are no neat answers as to why these things happen or how to eradicate the scourge.” AuthorsReading
If you are interested in finding out more about who I am or why I write what I do, I had the great opportunity to have been interviewed recently on two video shows. You can find them one hosted by Joseph Carrabis titled Author Plunge at http://www.josephcarrabis.com/2018/08/08/joseph-lewis-teens-drugs-and-gangs-o-my/#more-1443 The other is Author's Corner Live! Here is the link for the interview! https://www.facebook.com/Bridgetti.Live/videos/741588262840014/
So thanks to them and to all who have taken a chance on reading Caught in a Web. If you are interested in a copy on either Kindle or in Paperback, you can find it on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696 or on Barnes and Noble at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caught-in-a-web-joseph-lewis/1128250923?ean=9781684330249
And if you do give Caught in a Web a shot, please leave a rating and a review. I would appreciate it. Thanks for this consideration!
I have some exciting news:
Black Rose Writing, the company that published Caught in a Web has accepted for publication another of my books, Spiral into Darkness and it will be out in January 2019. On my author page on Facebook, I will post passages and snippets from time to time and keep you updated on the publishing progress. It is currently in the editing process.
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
*The photo is courtesy of Mikito Tateisi and Unsplash*