I started playing basketball in fourth grade. I had hit a growth spurt and everyone kept suggesting I try it out. My dad took me to the community center and signed me up. I didn’t know how to dribble or shoot and the rules were as familiar to me as calculus theorems. I was lost, to put it mildly. In my first game I rebounded 20 balls, which may sound impressive, except that I also walked twice, missed every shot I attempted, and fouled out in the third quarter.
It was around this same time that my teammates and I became infatuated with the Chicago Bulls’ extended stay at the top of the NBA food chain. Led by the dynamic duo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the basketball-watching world stood stunned as team and individual records were shattered. Jordan was my hero. If I could shave my head and grow another foot, I knew I could be just like him.
It took me nearly two years before I developed into a contributing player.
I never became the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball, but I experienced two state championships as well as a starting position on my high school team. I was never the best on the court, but I worked hard and found my way. To this day, Michael Jordan is still my hero. In an interview a few years back he said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”1
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