Making The Most Of Your Opportunities

Taking Life One Strategic Layup at a Time

Sometimes just 'going for it' is not enough to succeed. Even in basketball, you have to think before you shoot.

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"You miss all the shots you don't take," is a saying I have held with me for most of my life. And, I have doubtlessly been living true to its literal meaning. In the past, I threw myself into every opportunity given to me, some working out better than others. Luckily, for the most part, it has been fairly rewarding.

If we can learn anything from Jerry West's buzzer-beating 60-foot shot in 1970, it is that sometimes a clutch throw in the right direction might just make it. But only in the rare case where you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, with absolutely no capacity for preparation, should you take that chance. I continue to learn time and time again that there is a lot more to making shots than just 'going for it'. To test this I went out with a basketball and shot some hoops of my own.

I started with casual layups and already began missing a few throws. A layup is fairly simple to make but can be missed if shoddily done. Just like in life, you have to prepare for even the easiest of objectives. So, never take any opportunity for granted. Not to mention, in a real game of basketball, you are not the only one on the court. People are also coming at you, trying to steal the ball from your hands. In life, this translates to two things. For one, you will not have forever to make a decision, whether it be right or wrong. And, you always want to be the one in control of your situation. Secondly, you may want to consider all the options available to make the same score. Which execution will lead to the least amount of obstacles? The layup or the free throw?

If you want to make the free throw you may find that there are fewer obstacles but more precision and energy required. And, if we are looking to make a shot that will gain us the most reward, we may want to go with a half court. But when I attempted to make a few after doing my layups, I missed every single one. Every maneuver is unique, and the more difficult a move, the more focus needed to increase your yield of achievement.

Say you are in a situation where you plan to take a 'long-shot'. Maybe it's fame and glory, your dream school or job. Well, nothing is impossible when done with enough effort and planning. We see half-court shots being made by basketball players all the time. But, they practiced that throw over and over again, perfecting their implementation. The less work you put into making the hoop, the more chances you have at failure. And, at that point, you must consider whether the cost of failure is worth the shot. Luckily, there are many plays that can be done to aim for the same hoop. And many times a score can be made through a team effort. Like I mentioned earlier, you will not be the only one on the court. Yes, you will have obstacles and opponents but you will also have allies. Even if it means you aren't going to be taking the shot yourself.

Life is like a game of basketball and the best athletes practice and strategizes a game plan. Taking advantage of everything life throws at you is a great spirit to have. One should be willing to take chances and explore the uncharted. But it may not always be advantageous to just 'take every shot'. You need to first strengthen your stance and practice your spin.

Cover Image Credit:

Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

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A Thank You Letter To The Best Teammate I've Ever Had

There's no "I" in team.
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We all have those amazing memories when it comes to sports. Sometimes it is from winning tough games, but most of the amazing memories that we have come from the teammates that we shared those wins with. Teammates are the people who you spend so much time with that you eventually become a family. Teammates do more than help just win a game; they can be there through everything. There's always that one teammate that stands out from the rest, and this letter is for you.

Thank you for being selfless.

Looking back, I remember a lot of teammates. Some were great and some were not that great. I've had teammates who have only cared about their playing time. I've had teammates that have only cared about if they score more goals or more points than anyone else. You did not care about that. If the coach told you to play a position that you did not want to play, you still played it without a complaint. If I was tired at a certain position and wanted to switch you, you did it. You never complained about where you were playing or how many goals you had; you just wanted the team to win.

Thank you for having my back.

The best kinds of teammates are the ones that support you no matter what you do. I got a red card? That referee is stupid. I got into a fist fight during a game? You were the first one next to me swinging. Some girl makes fun of me on social media for messing up in a game? You were roasting her in her mentions. Even if I was right or wrong, you always supported me no matter what I did.

Thank you for seeing me at my worst and building me back up.

There are always times in an athlete's life where we run to the point to where we need to throw up. There are times where we go through games and miss too many shots. There are times where we get a little too mad at our coaches and feel as if we cannot deal with it anymore. You were the one that got me through it. When I was in the middle of a run and my lungs were burning, you stayed right next to me and reminded me that there wasn't much longer to go, even if there was. You always reminded me how capable I was by yelling at me and telling me to go score. You've seen me tired, sweaty, crying, screaming and throwing up. After all that, you still went out of your way to build me back up and I cannot thank you enough for that.

Thank you for making me love the game.

Without people like you, I would have had a very rough ride through my sports career. I have had teammates that have made me go home crying because they were so mean and rude. I have had teammates who have only cared about themselves. Without you, I would've forgotten what a good teammate is. Looking back, all I remember is the celebrations, the screaming random songs in cars and us hating each other's exes automatically... Then talking about all these things at practice. Thanks for being a leader with me. Without you and the rest of the team, I would not have loved the sport that I played.

Cover Image Credit: Cheap Seats Photography

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UFC 241: Showtime For Nate Diaz

The Long-Awaited Grudge Match Has Been Made

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Former UFC Lightweight Champion and Former WEC Lightweight Champion Anthony "Showtime" Pettis gets himself an opponent he has been waiting for since he was sitting at the throne in the UFC's Lightweight division. Coming off of a knockout of the year candidate after he knocked out top welterweight contender Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson with a flying superman hook is booked in a fight that could very well be the fight of the year. It was announced that the returning Nate Diaz will meet Anthony "Showtime" Pettis in the Co-Main Event slot at UFC 241 in the welterweight division.

The long-awaited return of Nate Diaz is finally here after he was originally supposed to make his octagon return back at UFC 230 when he was expected to face the now interim UFC Lightweight Champion Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier, but that fell through after Dustin suffered a hip injury. After that, there was no news of any kind of return aside from Dana White saying the Diaz Brothers turn down fights.

On Ariel Helwani's mix martial arts show he had Anthony "Showtime" Pettis as a guest as Anthony really broke down how much he is looking forward to this fight. He also detailed how he will already be heading into fight camp even though the fight is on August 17th because that is how much he wants to knock out Nate Diaz. There always have been some kind of dispute between these 2 fighters so it will be interesting to see what would be said at the press conference if the UFC decides to hold on for UFC 241.

Since entering the UFC Anthony "Showtime" Pettis has stacked up 8 fight bonuses with the amazing performances he continues to put on. The former UFC Lightweight champion also has 9 wins in the organization with wins over huge names like Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, Charles Oliveria, Jeremy Stephens, and now since entering the welterweight division former title challenger Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. Anthony "Showtime" Pettis is looking to become a serious title contender in the UFC 170 pound division as he will meet the huge obstacle that is Stockton, California's own Nate Diaz.

Many were unclear and speculated if Nate Diaz was going to return. Including, who his potential opponent would be. Everyone was under the assumption that the only way that Nate Diaz would make his return to the octagon would be that 3rd fight with "The Notorious" Conor Mcgregor. Nate Diaz who become the first person to finish Conor Mcgregor in the UFC is also coming off of a loss to Conor Mcgregor in their rematch leaving both of them with 1 win and 1 loss against one another. It was even shocking when the UFC announced last year that Nate was gonna return against Dustin in the lightweight division.

At UFC 241 Nate Diaz will be returning to the welterweight division is a bout that will be huge as the main event is the rematch between former UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic and the current UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel "D.C." Cormier in a rematch that has been way too far overdue.

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