I ran across this very interesting post on Quora:
It talks about the lessons you learn while playing any type of sport, regardless of the level you’re playing at.
This post hit home for me in many ways. One being it validates what I say almost everyday to anyone who thinks it takes intelligence to succeed:
“I think a lot of what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.” – Aaron Swartz
But more importantly, how it talks about what was learned early on because of sports:
Full disclosure: I had a personal motive with this question. I played baseball in college, but not professionally. So I wanted to know, “What did I miss?”
Davenport’s first response was to talk about how she had to grow up fast. She mentioned the power of the media and learning to live her life in front of a crowd.
But then she shifted gears and talked about improving at her craft and the lessons of competition, hard work, and perseverance. Those things, she said, were learned long before she became a professional.
I always credit the drive, motivation, and perseverance I have in my daily life to what I had to go through to become a competitive basketball player.
Not many people remember the days where I used to shoot a ball with two hands and when dribbling a ball was my biggest fear in life. I wasn’t lucky enough to start playing sports at a young age like my peers, during those days I was wrestling outside with my friends pretending to be The Rock. The first time I ever touched a basketball was around 7th grade, and after that I fell in love.
I fell in love with it to a point where I was oblivious of how awful I really was. I thought I was good enough to try out for the 7th grade basketball team, which consisted of an A, B, and C team, with C being the worst. A close friend of mine also tried out for the basketball team with me. He was a bit nerdy and didn’t really care too much about the sport, but he tried out regardless. After a grueling 1-2 days of tryouts, where again I convinced myself I performed better than I had, the first round of cuts was here. Yeah I got cut, and my friend advanced. That sucked.
There are a few instances in my life that have occurred which I’ll never forget, in terms of the level of pain I felt while experiencing them. This is one of those instances. I can still to this day look back and channel the same anger and pain I felt locking myself in the bathroom so no one could see or hear me crying. “Real men don’t cry,” as my dad would always say. I wanted to be a real man, but this was the first big defeat I had faced in my life, and being a child I couldn’t hold back the river of tears.
The tears eventually dried up and I was left to face the harsh reality. I wasn’t nearly as good as I thought I was. No let me rephrase that, I sucked. That left me with two choices. Either quit and let this failure always haunt me, or pick myself up from the ground and refuse to feel this type of pain ever again.
I picked myself up from the ground and refused to feel this type of pain ever again. I eventually went on to make the 8th grade B team, 9th grade A team, Junior Varsity team, and then finally Varsity team. I’m still confident I could have played at least at a D3 level in college as well if I wanted.
It didn’t come easy though, it was the hours and hours of practice I put in to drastically improve my skills in such a short amount of time that allowed me to achieve this. It was all that hard work, patience, and perseverance you hear about over and over again. That shit actually works believe it or not.
I had dreams of NBA, as did every child. Obviously that didn’t happen, but something better happened instead. I learned very important lessons through basketball that have set the stepping stones for me to succeed in life. If you ever watch me play basketball, or any sport, I’m always hustling, my heart is bleeding of passion, and I refuse to accept defeat.
The hustle, passion, and refusal to be defeated translate to my daily life, including my career. I wholeheartedly believe, because of my basketball history, there is nothing out there that I can’t achieve if I give it my all. I will go on to do big things, I will change peoples lives, I will change the world. The crazy thing I think about is how different I would if I gave up instead of willing myself to become better. One thing I’m confident about is that I wouldn’t be where I am today if that had happened.
To this day I don’t let my friend, who will become a doctor soon, forget that he advanced in try outs further than I did in 7th grade. It’s my constant reminder that “impossible is nothing.”
Find your spark, and run with it forever.