As a kid I dabbled in sports. I wrestled, ran track, played little league baseball and a local recreation basketball. At most of these things I was horrible, but it didn’t stop me from trying.
I had a decent coach in basketball who took me aside one day and gave it to me straight. He said, you are not aggressive enough, but you do have decent stamina. What you need to do is learn to shoot from the outside. He then showed me the basics of shooting for the 900th time with emphasis on the hook shot. He then told me to go home and to spend as much time per day that I could practicing these very basics things. He assured me that if I did, then I would be a force to reckon with on the court.
So I ran home and got to work on my hook shot. I spent an hour a day just shooting again and again at the court in my neighborhood. I would walk home with a sore arm having hit only about 5% of my shots. But an adult had assured me that this would be pay off. One day it would just click and I would be the next Kareem.
Of course this turned out to not be true. No amount of practice could help overcome my lack of coordination and my constant failed attempts at hook shots on the court became a running joke on my team. It got so bad that the same coach would take me aside and tell me that it just wasn’t working out. That maybe basketball was not my calling at that time. I would never take a shot again that year and would only play basketball after that with friends.
Occasionally, when I am alone with the ball, I will attempt a hook shot. I guess part of me still believes what my coach told me. That with enough practice anything is possible. Decades later I still miss the backboard about half the time, but at least now I am wise enough to know when to just call it quits.
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