There is no better time for basketball fans in North Dakota than right now as we head into the State Class B Boys basketball tournament. Unfortunately, however this time of year brings about article after article on the opinions of what class B basketball should look like. As a die-hard basketball fan, former player, former coach, administrator in public school, administrator in private school, and recently a blogger…I’ve decided to weigh in on the topic.
I dreamed of playing in the State B. My family went just about every year. My dad officiated it a few times during my childhood. I loved the game of basketball so much that I dreamed of the day that I would play in a State Championship game. Unfortunately that did not happen. But here is what did.
The dream drove me. The dream consumed me. I played basketball every day of my life. I shot hundreds and thousands of shots each and every day. I knew that if I wanted my dream to come true, then I needed to work for it. I cannot tell you how many basketballs my brothers and I went through during our childhood years, but it was certainly dozens. Often times we had to resort to the basketball that had no grip left whatsoever. It was just the way it was. I will tell you though that it was really tricky to shoot a no-grip ball during the winter.
Which leads me to my major points. How many young athletes now days know what it is like to shoot buckets in a drive way day in and day out? How many young athletes know what it is like to shoot buckets in a drive way in freezing cold weather? How about with boots on? How many young athletes know what it is like to shoot buckets in a drive way and have to play the wind? A pick-up game today on the concrete, under the sun is as common as lightning striking a person twice in a row, in the middle of winter, at the North Pole. Now just think how common a pick-up game would be in the middle of winter, in the snow, in cold temps. I feel like cracking a Vikings joke right now, but I won’t.
My point is simply this. I get all the arguments. I’m intelligent enough to understand both sides. But I’m also intelligent enough to know that State Tournament births don’t grow on trees. Entitlement is something that was not talked about when I was in school, but now days I hear it all the time.
Athletes don’t make excuses…make shots. Society – lets not dive head first into this entitlement era. Instead let’s raise our children to know that they must work hard for the reward. Let them know that there can be reward for missing the reward. Failure is not fatal. It helps us to grow and become who we are. But understand that championships are not handed to you. You must earn them, and to do so you might have to practice crossing over in boots or shooting 30 degrees to the left.
Best of luck to all teams in the State Tourney this week.