I believe in helping my opponent up off the basketball court. Since I played in youth league, I have held this belief. It may seem like an insignificant gesture, but it really represents much more.
Helping my opponent up shows forgiveness. When she fouls me and stumbles to the ground, I lend my hand. She has broken the rules by colliding into me; she has wronged me, even caused me some pain, but by helping her to her feet, I indicate my forgiveness. In life, people will “plow” into us plenty of times—breaking rules or hurting our feelings. Our response may not be physically reaching out our hand, but we must learn to turn the other cheek.
Helping my opponent up shows humbleness. As I crash into her body and she plummets to the ground taking a charge, I lend my hand. Her phenomenal play and courage took the basket away from me. Now she lies on the ground soaking in the glory, and I stand in defeat. By helping her up, I am congratulating her. There are times in our lives when people do perform better than us, getting the promotion we had hoped for, or hitting that amazing tennis shot we have always practiced. In these moments anyone can be silent, but it takes a courageous person to compliment his or her superiority.
Helping my opponent up shows compassion. As I run through the lane I smash into her, knocking her off her feet. I lend my hand. Our roles have been reversed, and this time, I’m reaching my hand out in hope that she will forgive me. Sometimes in life we don’t mean to wrong someone, just as I don’t mean to knock my opponent down. When this happens, all we can do is reach to that person and hope they will accept the apology.
Although, this belief takes heat sometimes, I have found it to be worthwhile. I can clearly remember watching the film of a game last year in the smelly locker room when coach commented about my belief. We were watching the game, and he was pointing out the usual mistakes. Then, my lanky body flashed across the screen and knocked my opponent on her back. Although the referee did not call a foul, I stopped, turned around, extended my hand, and helped her to her feet as play continued. My coach couldn’t believe it. He told me that next time I should forget about her and go on, but I told him that was not possible. It was my belief.
“Helping your opponent up” is a symbol for what the world needs more of—courage. Courage to show good character. I believe a person’s character should be apparent in every aspect of their life, whether it is in the workplace, at school, or on the court. I believe our character should echo in all that we do.
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