During the spring of my junior year in high school, some girls suggested we practice for the junior-senior basketball game, and I thought it might be fun, so I tagged along. I did poorly in practice, more focused on my friends than on the game; but despite getting on the nerves of some of the more competitive players, I decided that I would go through with what was going to be my one and only basketball game.
Throughout the match, the seniors consistently held the lead, while my teammates were struggling. I had passed the ball a couple of times like a hot potato, happy to get it out of my hands as quickly as possible. Until…
We were two points behind with seconds left in the game when one of my friends managed to intercept the ball. She tossed it as far as she could, and I realized with dismay that it was coming straight at me. I caught it easily, but now what? None of my teammates were near the basket.
I must have appeared frozen in time, uncertain of what to do, when I saw the face of Stan, one of the athletic boys in my class, sitting in the front row in the crowd. He called out, “Just shoot the ball! You can do it!”
I remember looking at the basket from my place at half court, taking aim, and shooting with all my might. What happened next is somewhat hazy. Somehow the ball miraculously swooshed into the basket at the last second, and we won the game!
As everyone crowded around me during my moment of glory, my eyes searched the crowd for Stan. He finally came up to congratulate me, and I said, “Thanks, Stan, for showing confidence in me when I needed it. You were the one who thought I could do it, and I did.”
We all need someone who spurs us on when the faces in the crowd are a blur, when the voices seem unintelligible, and our steps falter—someone like Stan to tell us to go for it when we are hesitant and unsure, to boost our confidence to try the impossible, to say “I know you can do it!” Though we might get a pat on the back in our moment of glory, we know deep down that they are the ones who really deserve the credit.