Advice from Michael Jordan

Victor - Athens, Ohio
Entered on April 10, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports, work
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His Airness, Air Jordan, and MJ are all monikers of not just the greatest basketball player, but of the greatest athlete to have ever lived: Michael Jordan. He is the epitome of success and since entering the NBA in 1984, has been a shining example of hard work paying off. I mention Michael Jordan because 10 words that he uttered changed me forever, and made me believe that he is one of the greatest individuals to ever live.

I’ve loved basketball all of my life, in large part due to Michael Jordan, and this was no different as I was about to enter my freshman year in high school. I begin at ninth grade because this was the time that I really began to play basketball more than I played any other sport, after ending my three or four year stint with baseball. As soon as school began, I was looking forward to the end of September when conditioning for basketball would commence. I waited patiently making sure that my grades were up to par and then the time finally came.

Conditioning would be held at Woodbury, an elementary school where I’m from, everyday at 4:30 to 6 p.m. I was ecstatic, to say the least. I went to conditioning everyday and then after about two weeks, things became more serious as tryouts began. Conditioning was a good time for one to show the coaches what he could do, but tryouts were the true barometer to tell whether you would make the team or not. This is where I got cold feet. I wanted to play so bad, but I couldn’t bare the possibility of being one of the names that didn’t make the list at the end of tryouts. So, I didn’t go to tryouts and eliminated any chance of making the freshman team.

The summer of ninth grade, I was on the court everyday practicing viciously so that I would be ready for sophomore year and the step up to Junior Varsity tryouts. Persistently in the heat, I was out there working on my game. So then school began and I knew that I’d gotten considerably better that I was the previous year. But even with all of this in mind, the outcome was no different than that of the year before; I choked. My fear of failure overshadowed anything that willed me toward trying out for the team.

I hate to admit it, but things weren’t any better junior year, actually worse. After another summer of playing non-stop, I barely even went to conditioning this time because I just knew that I wouldn’t even tryout. And as senior year came, it seems that I’d given up my “hoop dreams” completely and put everything into perspective. I mean, I’m good, but at 5‘6, I probably won’t be going too far in basketball.

Then, while looking for a senior quote for the yearbook, I came upon a page that was full of MJ quotes. That’s when I found 10 words that made me regret my entire high school experience. One quote read, “I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying.”

After I thought about it for a while I realized how weak I was and how if I wanted to even somewhat emulate MJ that I couldn’t live this way. This is why I believe that MJ is not only one of the greatest athletes ever to live, but one of the greatest people as well.