We had a big home basketball game. Back in 2014, Woods Charter boys’ basketball team was playing Kestrel Heights. Kestrel was one of our rivals.
We prepared, game-planned and pumped ourselves up to compete, and hopefully win!
As the game was entering it’s final minutes, it was evident we weren’t going to win. Because of this, I inserted some of our reserve players, including a kid named Tommy Johnson.
Tommy Johnson was small in size, but big in heart! At the time, Tommy couldn’t have been any taller than five feet, two inches, weighing no more than 110 pounds. When Tommy stood next to other players, he was always the smallest player.
Now, back to the game. The reserves are in. We’re on offense, and passing the ball around. The ball finds itself in Tommy Johnson’s hand. Tommy sees an opportunity to drive, and shoot the ball. So, that’s what he did.
When Tommy went to shoot the ball, the big “monsters” from the other team blocked his shot in a very intimidating way, and knocked Tommy down! Tommy had this look of dejection!
When I saw that, I emphatically applauded Tommy for trying, and encouraged him to do it again! I said to Tommy, “Look up, stand up and never give up!”
Guess what happened?! Tommy got up! Got the basketball! And drove, and shot the basketball again, and again, and again! I was so happy for Tommy! Tommy showed at a young age, despite being knocked down and discouraged, he had the intestinal fortitude to NEVER GIVE UP!
At Youth Hoops Basketball Camps, if I can encourage every kid I’m blessed to work with to look up, stand up and never give up, I’m fulfilled! I have accomplished God’s purpose for me!
Just think in life, our kids will get knocked down! When this happens, what will they do? The successful ones will be like Tommy Johnson, by fighting through adversity and never giving up!
P.S. Tommy Johnson went on to be the valedictorian of his high school class, found his calling by running track and received a full academic college scholarship. Tommy is one of my heroes!