In high school, I played basketball.
I guess I was the sixth man because I always got to replace someone for about one minute of playing time before the entire 2nd string came in and replaced the 1st, me included. With the exception of a game where I scored 16 points, getting a technical foul and giving myself pneumonia during early morning practice — I have few specific memories of those days. What I do remember is getting up early in the morning and arriving at practice early enough to get a little more rest before coach showed up. Every minute of rest counted for these practices for one reason and one reason only — suicides.
Suicides are perhaps the worst, and best, thing that ever happened in those dark-thirty hours. For those unfamiliar, suicides consisted of running (sprinting) the following pattern and ‘hitting’ each line: baseline, free throw, baseline, half court, baseline, opposing free throw, baseline, full court, baseline – in our case, repeated 3x each occasion.
Now, I wasn’t the fastest sprinter on the team, nor the most agile – but I did discover a little secret that helped me fare pretty well in those exercises. The secret wasn’t so much in the speed or acceleration, but in the momentum. And momentum was carried through the pivot. The pivot was everything. There was a total of 25 pivots for each time the exercise was run. By ‘hitting’ each line with a strong pivot, I positioned myself well. Not the best, but better.
It is HARD to change gears. I’m realizing this more and more every day. Things get slow, we want to keep them that way – things accelerate, we feed on that adrenaline to go, go, go. We are all tasked with different responsibilities in life. Without the ability to harness adapting, transitioning… pivoting – we’d all be left in the dust. Success is not defined by how far you’ve moved forward or upwards, but how well you can play the game of adaptation. It is some sort of innate sense in most of us that allows us to do it, but I’m convinced it can also be learned and acquired. But you have to have the desire.
I was competitive in my basketball team, sure; but I think the real reason I wanted to finish was to be efficient. To get the most done in the least amount of time possible. I wasn’t cutting corners, I was preparing for the pivot. Keeping my head up and staying light on my toes – because otherwise the line will sneak up on you every time. And you have to be ready to hit it.