No one sees me when I’m all alone on the court, soaked with sweat, searching for a breath, with the sadistically hot sun laughing above.
No one sees me when all that separates another repetition from quitting is the desire to improve alone.
No one sees me when I’m in the gym launching one shot after the other against imaginary defenders, preparing mentally for my next 1-on-1 match-up.
No one sees the blackened toe nails and bruises or feels the aching muscles and back.
The most anyone will ever see me do is play and in those moments the results of the work I’ve done when no one is watching will finally be evident.
“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.” – Joe Frazier (Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion)
That Joe Frazier quote is one of my all-time favorites. Being on this journey I’ve gained a much deeper appreciation for the amount of work that goes into being great at a given task.
Too often we credit someone’s success to what we perceive as an innate ability to do something and while that natural ability is a must to play hoops professionally, the countless hours spent polishing and perfecting the skill set when no one is watching will ultimately determine if anyone ever watches.
There is no part of me that enjoys pushing myself to exhaustion, running suicide after suicide.
It’s not enjoyable for me to dribble a basketball through my legs and behind my back over and over again with the hope that one day it will feel as natural as walking.
Doing those things and more, doing the roadwork, working on the weaknesses, isn’t fun. The reward for the hard work is sometimes months away, but when it all comes together, there isn’t a better feeling in the World.
While playing is where the fun is found, they understand that playing in and of itself won’t get them to their finish line. I now understand that too.
I’ve had the blessing of being exposed to some amazing players and coaches on this journey of mine to play Michael Jordan and they’ve shared with me what it takes to get where they are.
While I will never reach their level of success in basketball, my goal is to make the most of this opportunity and to be the best basketball player that I can be.
So I run and shoot, I dribble and ache, and do my best to improve because I’m not at the top of my game yet.
My best may still be many days away, but it will come…that is, if I do the roadwork.
If you’re new here, I set out in August 2010 to get a game of 1-on-1 vs. my childhood hero Michael Jordan. This site is about that journey…through every valley, to every mountain top of triumph!
Anything Is Possible with Faith & Hard Work!
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