Why I Hated Basketball


I hated basketball in high school.

My friend Dave and I would make sure we were on opposite teams in gym class. Because we loved to compete against each other?  Nope.  We wanted to guard each other so well that nobody would ever throw the ball to us!

It was really more like hiding than guarding. That was our plan, and it worked well.  Dave and I rarely tried to catch the ball and never took a shot.

Many years later my wife, who was quite an athlete in high school and still is, showed me how to shoot a basket.  Who knew there was a technique?  I had always thought it was a gift – you either had it or you didn’t.

With ten minutes of practice, I became twice as good at sinking hoops. Why didn’t anyone ever show me?  I may not have sunk the winning three-pointer, but at least I could have enjoyed the game, instead of dreading it!

But the real issue wasn’t my high school PE teachers. I was convinced there was no hope.  Why even try if I didn’t have the gift?  The strategy was to simply survive gym class, and find someone who would help me hide.

The Inner Game

Last year I entered my first run-bike race. Actually pinned a number on my shirt. Part of me was excited – the part of me that never came out to play in high school. The other part was seriously concerned that either my heart would explode, or my lungs would fall out.  I’m not kidding.

My goals were pretty simple: finish. And don’t finish last.

After about a mile of hyperventilating, I started to enjoy myself.  Passing people was possible – and fun!  I even came in first in my age division, and ranked pretty well overall.

That race, and steps leading up to it, were possible because I started to believe I could change – even if I felt my heart starting to explode with fear.

Change Is Possible

My life has been a series of do-overs – some based on choice – some forced upon me. I was hiding behind masks most of those years, pretending fear was “good sense” and surrounding myself with other “Dave’s.”

I still find myself hiding.  I still hate basketball, but I don’t hate myself.

Radical, and small, changes are possible!  We can start over.

What If?

What if my friend Dave had said, “Hey – let’s stop this hiding.  Let’s practice!”

I’m saying that to you right now.

What desires in life have seemed completely out of reach?  What have you been hiding from, simply because you don’t believe your life could be different?

You can change. Grow. Stretch. Re-launch your life. Get in the zone.

Not into somebody else’s zone – but into the real you.

Do you believe it?  Take a shot today.

Photo by spDuchamp

9 thoughts on “Why I Hated Basketball”

  1. Mike,

    I would never write a post titled “Why I Hated Basketball” because I was obsessed with the sport when I was younger, and I still enjoy playing from time-to-time. I appreciate your message, though, that change is possible.

    Thanks for the post!


  2. I hated basketball for similar reasons. I was short and terrible. The only time I touched the ball was to pass it in to the other guard. I assumed everyone else on the team had athletic ability which I lacked. One day the coach was sick and her son filled in at practice. He watched me failing at the free throw line and said, “Has anyone ever taught you how to throw a free throw?” It hit me suddenly that these were skills that could be taught and learned, only in my case no one bothered. I was hurt and bitter and quit the team after that season. I now wish I had learned the better lesson that anything can be learned.

    All these years I’ve held a grudge against my coach and teammates for ignoring me. What good is a poor-little-me story? As an adult I still avoid doing anything I’m not good at, and it robs me of the opportunity to experience and enjoy new things. No one is stopping me but myself. I need to let go of that old fear and excuse.

    Thanks for this post. It is a great eye-opener for me.

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