7: Basketball Star

7: Basketball Star

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

Basketball Star

I’ve got a theory that if you give 100 percent all of the time, somehow things will work out in the end.

~Larry Bird

Two seconds were left on the clock, we were down by one point, and I was at the free throw line. If I made the first shot, I would take a second shot. If we lost, we were out. It was the playoffs. Elimination style.

I started playing basketball for a recreational league in the sixth grade, and from the beginning, I had to play hard. I am not a natural athlete, but I liked basketball. I practiced outside for hours and hours, days and days and my shot had become very good. I spent part of my summers at basketball camp, in spite of the Florida heat. More importantly, I hustled. I came out and played as hard as I possibly could, every game.

I was finally able to make the team in eighth grade, and had even worked my way up to being a starter. I was known as the unofficial rebounder of the team. I would run, jump and grab the rebounds. And I could shoot with very good accuracy. I could not run as fast or jump as high or dribble the ball as well as my naturally athletic teammates, but that never bothered me. We all have our gifts, but through hard work and dedication, I could do anything I wanted to do.

So this was my moment. I had the ball in my hand, all eyes on me. I was a good free throw shooter. I’d practiced a thousand times.

But on that day, on that shot, I missed.

I immediately jumped up for the rebound.

Someone from the other team got it though, and the game was over. The season was over. We were out.

After the game, all the players and parents met outside for water. Coach thanked everyone for a great season. He mentioned a few people who he thought had a good game.

Then he said, “Mallory, where’s Mallory?”

He found me and pointed to me.

“Outstanding,” he said. And everyone in the room applauded.

I learned that day that there isn’t such a thing as “your moment” in this life. Who you are does not come down to one success or one failure. What you do — and how hard you work every single day — that does matter. And it is remembered.

~Mallory Albeck

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