Photo by Autumn Walter | The Women’s Basketball team won in the Ocean State Tip-off Tournament.

I was in my weekly struggle of trying to find a topic to write about for this week’s paper. I could recap basketball or interview a player for a profile. I decided to put it off like most things and went to the gym to clear my head and workout. It was a normal workout like the days before and I thought I’d finish it off with a quick shootaround.

To make a long story short I ended up in a pick-up game with about seven other guys. We go through the usual process of a pickup game, shooting for teams, introducing yourself to one another and so on. The game gets underway and if you know me, you know that I’m not the most gifted of basketball players, but I can hold my own. I like to think the best part of my game is my ability to shoot.

That wasn’t the case on this muggy Thursday in Mackal Field House. After a hour long workout most of my body was tired and my energy was drained. I was awful. I’m surprised they didn’t kick me out of the gym right then and there. I must of started out by missing my first seven or eight shots.

I was embarrassed and I was thinking to myself, “God, these kids must think I’ve never played basketball before.”

But the thing is, they didn’t care. All they said after every misfire I had was, “Don’t worry, keep shooting.”
Right then and there it hit me. It was during a pickup basketball game at nine o’clock on a Thursday where I got my story idea for the week.

Keep shooting.

There will come a time in life where you just can’t seem to find the basket. That every shot you shoot is destined to miss. I’m sure you’ve been there before and Lord knows I have too. When it seems like the hoop is getting smaller and smaller every time. Whether it be in school, work, life or hell, even a stupid pick up game, keep shooting.

Yes, it’s a saying that I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times before. It has many variations to it and may be overused and might seem watered down but it is some of the most powerful words in the world.

Twenty-five years ago, when receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 1993 ESPYs, Jim Valvano said the simplest yet most powerful phrase ever uttered in any speech ever. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

So if you haven’t made a basket in what seems like forever and that hoop seems to be shrinking on you, I urge you to keep shooting. When you think hope is lost and you can’t see the point anymore. Remember those seven words. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.” Because that’s where greatness comes from and that’s what great people do.

In case you were wondering I did end up making two shots during that game and one of them just happened to win our team the game.