Thursday, August 29, 2013

A lesson from Thurl Bailey

A few weeks ago I was able hear Thurl Bailey speak.  Just a thumbnail bio of Thurl Bailey, he is 6’11” tall, and he played basket ball.  He played collage ball for NC State University and was a part of the 1983 champion ship team.  He was a first round draft pick in 1983 for the Utah Jazz. 

 I jumped at the opportunity to go listen to him speak.  Here is someone who literal is a pro, and played at the top of his game.  I found he had a great sense of humor and didn’t take himself too seriously.  He poked fun at himself.

I found it ironic that when he was younger, he had no interest in playing basketball.  He worked on his studies, but one day he sat and watched a basketball game with his dad.  He showed an interest and his dad began to teach him how to play ball.  Over six foot tall in middle school you would think he could make the basketball team without any problems. 

He talked about the tryouts, and the ball hitting his size 11 shoe and it went shooting across the gym.  He didn’t do real well in the tryouts.  He couldn’t sleep the night before the who would make the team was posted on the coach’s door.  When he finally got to school and worked up the nerve to look, his name was not on the list, he didn’t make the team.

So he went home and practiced on his dirt court.

7th grade came and he went to tryouts again.  He dribbled better, and was able to pass, but he was still awkward, he had grown some more, and his feet were bigger than they were in the sixth grade.  He didn’t make the team.

The coach told him to find something else to do, because he couldn’t play basketball, he wasn’t good enough.

When Mr. Bailey told us that I was stunned.  I am looking at man that stands one inch shy of 7 foot tall.  Huge hands, and such a gentle manner.  He was a first round draft pick to the MBA.  And yet he had someone he looked up to tell him to forget basketball?

There are all sorts of people in your life.  We all have dreams and aspirations.  We all are striving to do better.  Life is short, too short to put up with negative people, folks who degrade and put others down.  Who point out petty problems.  Who only see the bad. 

Those people are poison.  The lower your self esteem, they suck the joy out of life.  If you have negative people in your life, find a way around them, do not let them take the joy from you.  Change things to get them out of your life, or lessen their importance and impact on you.

Fortunately for Thurl Bailey his 8th grade year the middle school had a new coach.  He tried out. However this time he wasn’t expecting to see his name on the team roaster.  So he was thrilled to see his name at the top of the list!  Then in an aside he mentioned he didn’t realize the list was in alphabetical order.

He started every game that year.  You see, he still didn’t play very well, and he was still very awkward.  He was over six foot five.  But the coach played to his strength.  He started, he won the jump ball every time.  Then the coach did a sub and he sat on the bench the rest of the game.  However, that was all it took, he was needed, he loved the game.  He went on to become an elite player and played for one of the best teams at the time in the MBA.

He dreamed that he was Dr. J.  So his first MBA game, Dr. J was there, and welcomed him into the MBA.  It was Thurl’s job to guard Dr. J.  He told us that he held him to 47 points that game.  He wasn’t going to let him get 50!

He talked about other things, but the point that came to my mind was he didn’t give up on his dream.  He spent many hours on his dirt court practicing and doing all that he could so he could be good enough to play.  A coach saw his drive, and that he was a natural, if he would take the time to work with him. 

So take your good talents, your strengths, the things that you love and keep going.  Get the Nay Sayers out of your life.  If you have to deal with them, find a way to keep them from deflating you, keep them from beating you down.

I am here, cheering for you.  What is it you love?  What are you doing to be successful, what stories inspire you?  I’d like to hear about them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother. There are way too many people that don't take the time to look pass the hiccups to see the potential, or encourage them to improve to reach it.