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Bad Times, Good Friends & The Angry Coach

A seemingly small time in my life now was once quite traumatic for me. Although it doesn't bother me anymore, I woke up compelled to share my story. In the hopes that it helps someone.

When I was 20 I went to a week long basketball camp in Paris, France with a few friends. At the time I had goals of going pro. I can see clearly now that was unlikely (hindsight is a beaut). At the time though I was working hard towards it. The camp was ultimately above my skill level, at that time. I also have struggled with anxiety in the past which made it hard for me to play with confidence. If you see me play with confidence vs non-confidence, I won't even look like the same person.

After 4 days of 8 hour periods of exercise and workouts including copious amounts of sit ups, press ups and running up and down stadium stairs. Twin this with poor food. Being in France I was hoping for some quality grub, could not have been more wrong. We all eventually sat down with a couple coaches, one by one.

I sat down with two coaches. One was pretty silent. The other had a real bad taste in his mouth for me. The type of distain you could only have if someone burned your house down, killed your pet dog or pooed through your letter box (actually that last one is funny). I digress. He proceeded to rip me a new one, basically suggesting I had no hope, and from memory I'm pretty sure he laughed at me. And with that, my paradigm broke.

I walked back to the bench with a face like I'd just seen a ghost. My world seemingly crumbling in on itself.

When I was back in the dorm room my friend Eliot could see I was shaken badly, and he knew I was really low. He didn't try speaking to me about it, I'm assuming because he knew it would be a sensitive subject. He told me about this great song he loved, and proceeded to pass me his iPod. The lyrics were as follows:

My life is all I have
My rhymes, my pen, my pad
And I done made it through the struggle, don't judge me
What you say now, won't budge me
Cuz where I come from, so often
People you grew up with, layin in a coffin
But I done made it through the pain in spite
It's my time now, my world, my life
My life...

For some strange reason that song gave me back some clarity and hope. That moment was one of true friendship. Good friends run in when everyone else is running out. I will always treasure that moment and his friendship.

Eliot, Andy and I Eliot (Left), I (Center), Andy (Right)

I was still a little down for the rest of my stay in Paris. However, what I didn't realise in that moment is that when one door closes, another one opens. When I arrived back in England, within that month I did marketing work experience. I loved it. I decided I wanted to go on to do a masters degree in marketing. For the first time in my life I had a taste for academia. I put my head down for my final year of undergraduate study to make sure I got the grade needed to get into business school. Needless to say I did it and went on to get a good grade in my masters degree. I have had a good career so far, and looking back I am so grateful for that coach shattering one world, as he allowed a new one to be born.

I may never know why he was so harsh (such a cunt) but from my experience no one is a bad person. They are just hurt human beings. It was beyond tough love he gave me. And maybe God knew that he had to be really harsh to break my current life path, to put me on the one I'm meant to be on. I don't hate the coach, I feel for him. No one should go through life with that much anger towards anyone. I wish him well, and hope that he is happier. All that being said, he may just of had a really bad day and unfortunately for me I was his vent (I hope that's the case for his sake, after all it's worked out splendid for me).

Here's the takeaways from my experience that I hope can serve you well:

  • When people take a disliking to you it's not always about you, more often than not they are projecting their own fears, concerns and insecurities onto you.
  • When someone tells you no, especially a person in power it doesn't always mean they're right. I wasn't meant to be a pro basketball player I know that now. But you may get told no and are meant to be. So listen to your gut and if it says you are then continue on your path working harder than ever.
  • It's about the journey. I was so caught up with my end goal that I forgot to enjoy the ride. If I had this philosophy I would have not taken it to heart so much, and maybe even laughed back at him.
  • When one door closes, another opens. Keep your eyes peeled, the universe works in mysterious ways.
  • We are only on this planet for the briefest of moments in an infinite amount of time. In a million years none of this will matter, so love hard, live a lot and laugh often. Don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out alive.

I hope that has helped you. I'm so grateful for the experience and for you giving your time to read it.

To your success,

Stu

P.S. The song is My life by Styles P and Pharoahe Monche

P.P.S. I still play basketball to this day and love it. Although I don't want to be a pro, I'm still trying to get better. Life's about progress.

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