Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Take More Shots

While this is usually my go to bar motto, today I am not referring to my predilection for brightly colored, tasty alcoholic beverages that come in cute, midget sized glassware.

Instead, I am once again pulling a metaphor for my life from basketball. I often have revelations about myself after a game and even occasionally in the midst of game. The game itself is actually very serene - there is this natural ebb and flow of movement and energy out on the court, and it allows my mind to disengage from the outside world. While playing, I can't really think about much else. It's just basketball. Stutter step, breathe, pivot, fake, follow through, swoosh, exhale. Last nights game was no exception.

With only 5 players, we have no subs, so we are all running the whole game. My revelation was actually brought on by my teammate, Sarah. I liked Sarah the moment I met her. She has a wonderful energy, is always upbeat, and there is something about her that just reminds me of my best friend Alice, who passed away 6 years ago. She talks like Alice did, plays likes Alice did, its hard to pinpoint what exactly it is - she simply has a very Alice-ish quality about her. During the first half, I was playing well, but playing reserved - not calling for the ball and passing instead of shooting. Sarah was having a stellar game and everything she put up fell in, so it felt right to keep feeding her the ball. She was practically a sure thing. At the half, she came right up to me, and was like "Look, I really appreciate all the assists, but you need to take those shots. You are our best shooter, but you're not shooting -- we need those points from you." I thought about it a second, and realized, I had only taken 2 or 3 shots during the first half. Hmmm. The second half started and our point passed me the ball. Dribble. Shoot. Swish. It felt right. As we're running back on defense, Sarah said, "Nice! I get credit for that assist!" She was right - she completely gave me a verbal assist, AND boosted my confidence at the same time.

I find that I often feel this way in life, not just out on the court. I am all too often content to build up the people around me, and just keep the status quo in my own life, not pushing the envelope. While I enjoy supporting those people around, I realized I definitely need those verbal assists from people too. Actually, to be more honest with myself, I need to believe the verbal assists I already get. I know that I sell myself short, and when people compliment me, I tend to just brush it off, like "oh, they are just saying that to be nice." In discounting the compliment, I am just beating myself up from the inside out. Which is completely counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve. Just a few weeks ago, I was out with some friends, and one guy in particular kept commenting about how cute I was. It was just platonic flirting, and a nice compliment. Instead of saying thanks and accepting the nice words, I was determined to say they weren't true. Eventually he was like, "Just deal, its a fact." That ended my rebuttals. But, why was I so persistent in disagreeing with him? I am my own worst enemy at times.

I DO have things I am good at, I AM a successful person, I AM cute; I just need to keep taking shots, and know that I can make it. Believing that is perhaps my biggest, and most imposing, hurdle. You can't stop shooting just because you're afraid to miss, after all...

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Life is like a game of basketball, at the end of it, you hope you took every open shot you had, passed the ball of when you could, and left it all out there on the court.


  1. Meggo, I'm pinching my nose trying to hold back my tears on this post. This is my most favorite post you have done so far, MOST FAVORITE! Your words grabbed hold of me. You most definitely deserve to take the shots and need to take them along with any kind o assist you can get. You are an incredible woman. Beautiful. Powerful. Phenomenal. One of the best.

  2. First let me just say that I’m game for anything that has a lead in involving alcohol. Of course there was a tinge of disappointment when I realized this post wasn’t going to be about drinking! I guess that’s a personal problem. That aside I’m going to have to agree with Ally on this one and say one if not the best post I can remember in a long time. With concern to your ability to build up the people around you, and just keep the status quo in your own life, not pushing the envelope I’m reminded of a great speech by Nelson Mandela:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

    We do little for others or ourselves when we prop other upon our shoulders. The greatest profit we can provide anyone is to profit for ourselves. “To live, man must hold three things as the supreme and ruling values of his life: Reason, Purpose, Self-esteem.” My fellow “Atlas” aficionada you should know this. :o)

  3. Shoot, lady, shoot! I can hear Alice singing one of her crazy cheers from the bleachers as we speak ... (and for the record, that Mandela quote from Meandering Bohemian is one of my all time favs :-)

  4. I love this post! Its so true and tragic. It is a shame that we can beat ourselves down and never see the clearest side of things. Great post Megs, keep em coming