If You Listen…

If You Listen…

How many times has someone said something to you that you just simply heard.  Did you take it to heart and let it deep inside of you knowing that it might have the power to transform your life?  I think that I’ve been that person that really has a profound ability to “Listen”.  I’ve always said that I was dumb enough to listen to people that saw more in me then I could see in myself.  The uniform with the “H” that I wore in college at Maryland.  It was simply because Jim Hathaway, the man that told me I could be a basketball player when I was in the 8th grade simply said, “If you listen to everything I tell you, you could be just like the Big O.”  It stuck with me and drove me to work hard and practice a lot.

Just words one might say or the substance that could transform a life of a little boy that didn’t know where he might end up.  No one had ever thought I could play basketball before.  I was Senior Class President at Kecoughtan High School.  Not because I wanted to be President, I only thought I wanted to be secretary or treasurer because you had a better chance of getting into college. So the magazine article had said.  My assistant coach said you should run for President.  I would have never thought of doing that before he told me.

I remember the luckiest shot ever came in a close game at Yorktown High.  The game was on the line as I brought the ball across half court.  Edlo, Nick Peoples cut to the basket with his hand in the air.  If only I could get him the ball we would have those two points.  We needed two points desperately.  The momentum in the game was shifting to Yorktown. I could make that half court pass to Nick as he was cutting to the basket.  The ball left my hands and was going to Nick for that needed two points.  Quite the embarrassing moment for me.  The ball went in the basket.  I turned to go back down court and I heard the referee say to the score keeper, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”  He was talking about me!  He didn’t know that I’d made a mistake.  He only saw the ball go through the net in a tough close game.  I took those words deep inside and let them fuel my actions.  I scored three or four more baskets after that and we won the game.

If You Listen, you can be just like the Big O.  That one day in 1966 when I walked into a white school gym with some friends looking to play some basketball.  Not really knowing anything about the game changed my life forever.  Now when I walk into that gym it’s the Howard White Court.  Are you listening?


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