One Perfect Contest

One Perfect Contest

I am not a “basketball player…” Though at one time in my life I tried to be, I can’t say that I was ever that successful as a 10 year old.  I became an adult that enjoyed hitting the YMCA to shoot hoops, play some pick up games and generally enjoy hanging out with some buds.  Mainly, I liked the fitness aspect of basketball and I liked the opportunity to compete against myself and the ever present battle to improve.  In my very unaccomplished career of playing pick up basketball at the Y, I did exactly that.  I competed hard, played defense, tried to play team ball and slowly improve.  I was far from complete or perfect as a basketball player!

A couple of my buds and I used to engage in a shooting contest each session.  The game consisted of 3 shots from 5 different spots around the 3-point arc (15 – 3 point shots total).  We would battle it out and trade victories between the three of us constantly.  On a great day, one of us would win with 11 or 12 made 3s.  On a rough day for everyone, sometimes you won with 5 or 6. 

We weren’t amazing, but it was always a fun competition.

One random day out of hundreds, I made all 15.  I stepped up, caught the ball in rhythm and just stroked 15 straight three pointers around the arc.  15 of the purest shots I’ve ever taken.  Some people would never be impressed by that because some people are actual basketball players and not merely amateur pretenders like me.  But for me, I was perfect! 

One day, one random contest out of hundreds… I was perfect.

I tell that story of the perfect 3-point battle for this reason…. I never did it again.  As soon as it happened, I was excited, giddy, proud.  Though I also recognized that I might never accomplish that feat again because… let’s face it, that was hard!  We competed with each other many more times afterwards.  Sometimes I only made a couple, sometimes i made 10, 11, 12… but I never made 15 again.  I don’t lament never finding perfection again.  I don’t stew at night about how I never lived up to my capabilities more than that one time.  The fact that I ever did it, the fact that I put together that one perfect string of shots was enough. 

It gave me the confidence and belief that maybe one day I could do it again.  And if I never do, that’s ok as well.  The best part part of it all is that I am not disappointed about never hitting 15 in a row again.  I wasn’t disappointed when I made 12 on a good day after that.  I will say that I was disappointed when I made 6 or less… That just didn’t align with my athletic potential.  But every time I stepped up to shoot, I did so knowing that I was able to hit at a high rate.  I was capable.

There is strength in believing in your ability. 

There is power in believing that if you try you can absolutely succeed.  Whether you succeed on a specific attempt or not…. There are life changing effects to believing in your capabilities.  Believing you can become a senator or a congressman, comes before actually creating changes to our legal code.  Believing you can create art comes before a museum will ever buy or display your work.  But disbelieving and avoiding the attempts will ensure that you never maximize your abilities in this world.

Returning to my basketball tale, I never actually knew for sure that I would have one perfect contest where I made all 15 shots.  However, no matter the outcome of my previous shot on any given day…  I absolutely always believed that I could make my next shot.