Sometimes “Winning” Simply Means Showing Up

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LSU has a pretty amazing basketball arena.

The PMAC (Pete Maravich Assembly Center) has seen some amazing basketball players in its day to include the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Jackson and many others.

That isn’t the cool part about it.  In the basement is a very average looking basketball court known simply as “The Dungeon”.  It got that name because July in the bayou is nothing to joke about.

Summer time is when The Dungeon became the mecca of basketball in south Louisiana.  A couple times a week guys from all over would go there and play pick up ball.

Guys in college, guys in the NBA, guys that nobody has ever heard of.  Shaq, Kerry Kittles, Randy Livingston, Tony Cole, Willie Davis and Lester Earl just to name a few.

These were some of the most epic players I’ve ever seen.

When I was in 8th grade my dad would take me there and drop me off for hours.

I would warm up and wait.  Waiting to see if I could sneak a fifth spot on a team.  I didn’t like it because I never played.  I didn’t want to go back after that summer.

I wasn’t interested in “watching”, all I wanted to do was play.

My dad took me back again and again and would say “You’ll never play unless you show up” 

I don’t think I touched that court for one second the first two summers I went there.  I just showed up, warmed up and waited.

Why would they let a 5’11” white kid who wasn’t even in high school play??? Half these guys would have at least a short stint in the NBA.

I saw dozens of guys go there, not play and never show up again.

One day they were short one guy to run a final game.

I got my shot.

No, this isn’t some great story about me hitting a game winner.  I didn’t do anything special. I just ran up and down and passed to the best guys on my team.

But for the first time they invited me back.  After that I went back every summer until I graduated high school and went on to play in college.

I didn’t play in a ton of games there, but I showed up.  And when they needed a fifth guy I was there.

I never won anything.

I simply got the opportunity to test myself against guys who were 100x better than me.

Showing up was enough.  

Sometimes there is nothing to win.  

Sometimes showing up is actually “the win”.

Sometimes just being the only person to show up is a victory.  

I’ve talked to three people in the last week who felt they were at the end of their rope and wanted to quit.

They all said the same thing……”I don’t know what to do?!?!?”

I say the same thing my dad told me.

“Just show up”

Just showing up creates a habit.

Just showing up, by definition, means we aren’t quitting.  

Now we have a habit of not quitting.

Just showing up is more than most people will ever do.

But most importantly, we will never get the opportunity to succeed or test ourselves unless we “Just Show Up”.

Fern