Free Throws

Free Throws

One thing I know about basketball, and free throws, is that there is nothing “free” about free throws. Usually, you are only awarded the chance to attempt a free throw if a referee feels you were fouled in some way. Being fouled can range from a minor touch to a blow that might knock you to the ground. There is nothing “free” about free throws.

Another thing I know about free throws is that they are very important to the outcome of a basketball game. Coaches encourage players to practice free throws. They are simple. They only count for one point. They look easy but are sometimes hard.

Even the best players do not make every free throw. Whether you think Michael Jordan or LeBron James is the best player ever to grace a basketball court, one thing they both have in common is, they have missed their share of free throws. The funny thing is, most of us, if we have ever attempted more than ten free throws, have missed a few free throws. Those of us who have never tried to make this type of point in a basketball game may be the only ones that can claim perfection.

As it is in life, and basketball, perfection cannot be attained without the attempt to achieve. What is interesting to me is the way the success of a free throw shooter is measured. It is a ratio, or a percentage, of shots made and missed, in correlation to the number of free throws attempted. Sometimes you might see this statistic as it pertains to one half of a game, one game, or even over a season. I have not had the chance to research the internet on the issue, but my guess is, there is no person shooting 100%.

Of course, if you make the first shot in one half of a game, one game, or even over a season, for a time, you are indeed, shooting 100%. That is a great feeling. That is a great feeling that does not last for long. If a player is being evaluated over one half of a game, they have a chance in another half. If a player was being evaluated over the course of a whole game, they may have to wait for another game to reset their chances at perfection. If a player is being watched over the course of a season, it may take along while to have another “shot” at being 100%.

Sometimes it is easy in life to feel this way with relationships, self-improvement, goals dealing with finances and personal accomplishments. We mull over failures in our heads and sometimes lose site of the fact that we are not being measured, or evaluated, in any way. The only thing we need to reset our possibility of being 100% is the chance to try again. There is always the chance of being 100%, as long as we are willing to try, one more time.

Simply put, our ratio of shots missed or hit, in relation to our total attempts, is a measurement of our past experience. It is easy to live there. To worry for what we have done or said, to fret over how what we have done will affect our present and future, or to want to give up and give in because our performance was not spectacular. We all get, in life, free throws. The beauty of a free throw given in life is that we need not be fouled or wronged in any way for the chance. The chance to try, to work towards something, or to afford a grace to another is all we have.

Here is what makes a champion. Here is what sets those that succeed apart from those that repeat the same miserable mistakes in life. When a champion steps to the line in basketball, or starts a new day in life, the only thing a champion sees, breathes, feels, and hears, is the possibility of great things. When it would be easy to occupy their minds with past performance, while it would be prudent to consider previous mistakes, a champion thinks only of the possibility of positive and desired outcomes.

Consider this. If I told a person I hated their new hair cut and I liked their smile, that person would think mostly of how they need a new style of hair. If a person walking down the street experienced three people smiling and one person giving them the proverbial “bird”, they would not soak in the love of first three. They would be angry or hurt over the gesture given by the one. We tend to focus on the negative in life because we are tricked into believing, from an early age, that life is negative, and that positive thoughts or vibes are out of the norm.

You Are Love. You Are Kindness. You Are Whole. You Are a Miracle. Your Thoughts, Your Dreams, and Your Needs Matter. The Creator Lives Through You.

Is that hard? There are times we may have hatred, become unkind, feel less than perfect, become numb to the miraculous and believe we do not count. Let those times be the anomaly. Create a default in yourself that brings you back to your realization that you are the embodiment of goodness in a world that is full of goodness. Begin to see the good in others, yes, but be committed to a deep belief in the goodness that resides in you. And the next time you get a free throw, see the possibility for great things and leave the running over in your mind of negatives to those that keep up with averages.

As a side note, the only way you get really good at measuring the performance of others is by giving up on performing yourself. You cannot keep track of another’s success if you are concerned with your success. Champions know possibility for themselves. Champions know possibility for others. People will measure your performance. You might be tempted to measure the performance of others and yourself. Stay focused on possibility. Not the possibility of tomorrow or the next game, but of now. That is all that lasts and all that is real in this life. Possibility.

Will you share what you think?