I’ve been in and around athletics for most of my life. I’ve either played it, coached it, or watched it. Kim and I began watching soccer when Wil was seven, and now that Emily played her last season and game last year, we have no clue what to do with our fall weekends. We think we might have to adopt a kid to go watch him or her play.
I’ve been fortunate to coach basketball at the middle school, high school and collegiate levels. Pretty remarkable, since I was only a marginal player myself, and ended up getting cut as a junior. The coach told me that there weren’t two seasons of football – one with pads and one without. I don’t think that was a compliment to my athleticism.
The thing is, I could see the game. I could spot an athlete, and more importantly, a basketball player.
I had the good fortune to have excellent players that made me look great. Rob, Gene, Mike (I coached three or so in high school), Steve, Tony, Al, Dave, Kurt, and so many others. Two ended up being “Mr. Basketball” for the state of Wyoming when they were seniors. Several went on to play at the collegiate level.
After winning a state championship in Wyoming, I was recruited to coach guards at the collegiate level. That changed when the head coach walked into the office, threw a credit card and a map of Chicago on my desk and said, “I need you to find me some players.”
I looked for more than a kid who could shoot. I like quickness, vision, “basketball smarts” as they say. But I also used to sit in the student section and would ask the kids around me about this player or that player. The kids were brutally honest and more than once did I turn away from a kid.
There are probably other qualities coaches and prognosticators can point to, but in my mind, one thing that sets one athlete apart from another is perseverance. The willingness to fall, pick yourself up, and risk falling again. To me, it’s this quality that sets one athlete apart from the others.
To reach the “star” high school level and most assuredly to reach the collegiate level, the athlete needs more than athleticism. There are quite a few gifted and talented athletes I passed on, both at the high school level and at the collegiate level. They might not have been “good people” or they sometimes took plays off during a game. They didn’t care enough about themselves at night or the weekend to remove themselves from alcohol or other substances.
But mostly, it was a lack of perseverance. They gave up too often and too early, particularly when it got tough.
My wife and I got back from a vacation we took with our daughter, their boyfriends, and dear family friends we haven’t had the opportunity to spend much time with. One of their boys, Jimmy, is getting ready to head to Temple on an academic scholarship. But he also runs cross country and track. Now, it was a vacation. One week at the beach. Great weather, although beastly hot. Who wouldn’t take a bit of time off from working out?
Fourteen miles one day. Eleven another. A forty-five-minute workout after running a short six miles. Worked on his craft everyday during that vacation. Probably not the fastest runner in the world, though he is pretty darn fast. Might not make the Olympics. Will have to work at Temple. But he did work and he will work.
When I mentioned to his father that I was impressed and proud of Jimmy for how he worked each day, his father simply said, “It’s been that way for four years. Longer than four years.”
And, Jimmy is a nice young man. Bright. Quiet. Will talk if you speak to him, but is content to listen rather than not.
Athleticism goes a long way. So does character. Often, character will tip the scales in favor of this athlete or another. But as important as athleticism and character are- and in my mind, they are important, I will look at perseverance. In athletics. In school. In a marriage. In life. Perseverance sets one apart from all the others. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family. No one willing to talk, and three brothers are in danger.
My new book, Betrayed, is available for preorder at https://www.blackrosewriting.com/thrillers/betrayed Use promo code: PREORDER2020 for a 15% discount.
Betrayed will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona.
Below is the book blurb. Pretty excited about it.
A late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, and no one is talking.
Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise, even though it might mean death.
A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans, and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.
Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.
Here are some early reviews from other authors:
“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.
A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins
“Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series
“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay
Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
Caught in a Web is now available in Audio format. You can find it at https://www.beaconaudiobooks.com/audiobookreleases/high-school-drug-rings-gangs-and-revenge-are-all-encompassing-in-caught-in-a-web-by-joseph-lewis
Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where, or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis
Picture Courtesy of asoggetti and UnsplashBetrayed Cover Designed by David King of Black Rose Writing