To be completely honest, the first time I met him he scared me.
He was the dad of one of my childhood friends. I didn’t have many opportunities to interact with him back then, but when I did, I was intimidated. He was always kind, and never mean to me, but I desired not to cross him, ever. His presence demanded respect, and by golly, he received it. Especially from me.
I was blessed to see him the other day. As we exchanged small talk, memories came flooding back from 20+ years ago.
I was taken back to after a high school basketball game. Back then we played 6-on-6 ball. I was a forward, so my job was scoring points. My friend’s dad approached me, and asked if I would be willing to work with him to improve my shooting, namely my free throws.
Part of me shook in my sneakers, yet part of me couldn’t wait to learn from him.
Not only was he the father of my friend, he was a coach of another sport at our school–a boy’s sport–and an excellent one at that. He had led his team to numerous state championships and titles.
So, why me? Why would he want to work with me? A friend of his daughter’s, who plays basketball?
Still partly shaking in my high tops, Sunday evenings we’d head up to the high school gym, and we’d shoot. And we’d shoot. And we’d shoot. He retaught me everything… the best way to stand, the proper angle, where to hold the ball and where to aim, how to flip my wrist on release, and follow through. It changed everything in my game.
He changed everything in my game.
There’s no doubt in my mind it was because of his influence and instruction I was invited to play college ball.
But that’s not the coolest part in all of this. The coolest part is he took the time to care.
I will always be grateful for that, mostly because of the example he set for me in investing in others’ lives. Investing when you have nothing to gain from it. Investing for the sake of making the other person better.
Investing to make an impact.
I’m reminded again each time I have a basketball in my hands. Each time I linger back to my basketball days. Each time I see him.
I desire to follow his example. To invest in the lives of others, without any benefit to myself. To notice someone enough to see something special, and to be willing to help that person grow. To be an example for the next generation.
Who has impacted you? Who has invested in your life? I’d love to read your story if you care to share it below.
May you and I invest our lives into another’s today.
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