They’re bigger and faster and more athletic. I can’t even get a shot off!
My Dad patiently listened as my 9-year-old self, complained about my basketball conundrum.
Then he said something that changed my life forever.
You need to understand, it was the late 1970’s, there was a lot of racial tension in my neighborhood (or, what most people called, THE HOOD) and I was the only white kid who’d even DARE to force myself in to a game of hoops. I was determined I was going to be a star.
Who cares if I was white, couldn’t jump, wasn’t only slightly athletic, and was… well, – a STICK FIGURE – at best. C’mon, just look at the picture.
Well, THEY cared. There was NO WAY anyone was going to pick me on their team and if I DID get in a game they were going to make me PAY dearly… PHYSICALLY… and MENTALLY.
I was NOT “one of the gifted” on the playground courts of inner-city Dallas.
So, you can see why I was complaining.
Dad would have none of it.
When I finished my fuss-fest (that’s what he later called it) he hugged me… told me he loved me… wiped away my tears and then, albeit in a kind and loving way, HE SAID IT!
DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER… WISH YOU WERE BETTER.
I didn’t want to hear it then… but it BORED a hole in to my soul.
So, I went out and worked like a maniac. I mean, as much as a little, white, manic could.
It wasn’t the LAST time I heard it… DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER… WISH YOU WERE BETTER. But it WAS the last time I heard it from him.
I heard it again and again – in my head – as I grew up and had difficulties arise in my life.
When times got real tough… DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER… WISH YOU WERE BETTER.
When life seemed too hard to handle… DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER… WISH YOU WERE BETTER.
When I considered walking out on my family because of the autism stress and tension… DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER… WISH YOU WERE BETTER.
Can you imagine?
Who says that to a 9-years-old?
I’ll tell you who. My Dad. The wisest, most loving man I ever met.
My Dad has now passed. I miss him more than you can imagine.
But he’s there with me every time I need him, whispering in my head… DON’T WISH IT WERE EASIER… WISH YOU WERE BETTER.
Let me now… whisper in your ear. The same way he did for me. In a loving, kind, helpful way.
Shhhhh… Listen closely (I’m whispering.) “Don’t wish it were easier… wish you were better.”
I hope it helps you as much as it helped that skinny, scrawny, unconfident, lost little 9-year-old stick figure named, “Kyle.”
By the way, up until I quit playing basketball – in my late 40’s – there was STILL noone that could guard me.