In high school I played four years of basketball. For some reason, unlike the other sports I played, I was never a "powerhouse" in the good ol' b-ball game. Maybe it was because my coach, who was an African American but named Mr. White, always pulled me out after I missed a shot, or maybe because, when you got down to it, I was just a lonely white girl trying to play a game I was never intended to master. At any rate, during my freshmen year, I was christened with the nickname of "Chicken" because I would never shoot. Consequently, for the next three years, I tried almost everything to overcome my fear of shooting and embarrassing title.
One of the things I would do during the year to practice would be going to my church and shooting baskets for hours in the gym. I remember one time, after a disappointing game, I made my mom take me over to the church to practice. After thirty minutes of shooting I still felt incredibly frustrated and disappointed with myself. I remember my mom came in and watched me for a few minutes. I remember she was wearing this enormous green winter coat that looked like a comforter and a tennis warm-up underneath. After watching me miss a few shots in a row, she asked me if there was anything she could do to help.
Now, as a side note, I should mention my mom is not exactly a "huge" athlete. She's very athletic, but didn't grow up playing sports. So, when my mom asked me if she could help, I have to admit, I wasn't exactly confident with her expertise. However, she looked so sincere, I thought I would try and explain to her my problem with shooting. Sheepishly I explained, if I was wide open I had no problem shooting, however, if a defender put a hand up or ran towards me I would hesitate and not shoot.
As soon as I finished sharing my phobia, my mom dropped her purse and took off her big coat. She then asked me to start shooting. Before I knew it, my mom charged after me. Like always, I hesitated. My mom then backed up and ran towards me again, but this time yelled, "Shoot!" Which I did. This exercise continued for the next thirty minutes.
From that night I didn't turn into Kobe Bryant, but I did hear my mom's voice every time I touched the ball...and well, I did start to shoot more in games. Who knew a debate champion from Utah could be such a good basketball coach?
Thanks Mom...and Happy Birthday.