Sweat hit the floor like rain in a storm. The basketball game went up and down, back and forth. With each dribble, shot, and steal the emotion on the court became as thick as butter. With each block and rebound the players pushed themselves to their breaking point. They ran and ran and ran until the court was a blurr of colors and the game weaved itself into an epic struggle between two teams pitted against eachother.
The weave had a flaw, a stitch that wasn’t quite right. The home team’s captain, the home team’s hero was having a sloppy half. People were begining to notice, but not to where anyone would dare to say it out loud.
The game wore on, the first and second quarter got lost in the weaving colors. The horn sounded and the game was put on hold until the referee let the dance continue. After half time the teams came out with the same intensity that already elevated the game from good to great. In a pivotal point in the third quarter a call was made that … wasn’t the best. As the last note of the schrill whistle ended, everyone in the entire gym could see the look of disgust on the face of the guilty player. He slammed the ball down as if he was trying to plant it in the wooden court. Trouble was bubbling closer and closer to the top of the pan and was about to run over. In a split second the disgusted players team mate flashed to the ball, picked it up and quickly handed it to the referee.
Twenty five rows up I was witnessing the blurring colors and the emotion that all participating were pouring into the game, but I noticed what was seemingly a passing moment. The player that had picked the ball up was the teams best player … on most nights. On this night he was struggling with two airballs and countless other mistakes. He couldn’t seem to get his rhythm to match the teams. Through the fire he never showed his frustration, but played harder and harder to get his team the victory. I saw his hustle, I saw him put the team in front of himself. I saw him help his team win and not worry about himself. I also saw how he rushed to the aid of his frustrated team mate and correct his error with out an insult. This I believe, that leaders lead even when the night is at its darkest.
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