Every summer kids flock to basketball camps. Camps are fun for kids because they get to play all day long and hang out with friends. Basketball camps can also teach children many things…basketball and life. I know when I was young that I loved camps and I learned a lot from them.
Most camps have guest speakers at some point of the camp. I’ve listened to many as a camper and as a counselor. While on my way home from working the Xavier basketball camp I thought about what I would say to a camp if I was asked to be the speaker. It is tough addressing a basketball camp especially with young kids because most have no intention of being a basketball player even at the high school level. So, I think the speech needs to be about life, but with basketball as the center point.
I would start off by talking about wanting something compared to needing something. Everyone needs food, water, shelter…etc. People want a variety of things…big house, expensive car, stuff like that. If I asked the camp how many campers would like to play in the NBA someday the whole camp would raise their hands. If I asked how many campers would want to play in college someday the result would be predictably the same. It isn’t a question of want to, it is a question of need to. Who will need to make it to the NBA to be happy? That will end of deciding who makes it and who doesn’t.
If you need something to live or to be happy, you will go to great lengths to get it done. If you need to make it to the NBA to make your life then you will be extremely focused. You will not be distracted by alcohol, parties, drugs, and whatever else could get in your way. Basketball will be your priority and you will put unbelievable effort into your practice habits. It is not easy to skip a party go to get your second work out in of the day…yes second, because it won’t be a question if you haven’t worked out yet. It is easy to get lazy and skip a shooting work out here and there or take a week away from weights because it is summer and you want to relax.
Now, we have separated wanting something and needing something. At this point, the campers need to figure out that they want bad enough to actually need it in their life. Is it sports? Is it to be a doctor? If it is to be a doctor then they will need to put academics as their priority, everything else is secondary to academics. If you have a passion in your life that you are willing to put as a priority then you will love waking up every morning to make progress on that dream.
When you do not know what you want to do, when you do not have a passion…life is tough and usually is boring. At that time, soul searching and experiencing different things is very important. There is something that everyone loves and if you can find a way to do it the rest of your life then you should do it. The truest saying might be “it is not about the destination, it is about the journey.” The destination should be important and you should not lose sight of what you are working towards, but the journey is what makes the destination worth it. All of your greatest life memories will be from the journey that you worked so hard on and shared with people.
So recapping things here, find a passion in your life. Something that you need in your life, something that you will love waking up every morning to start working on your goal. Once you find out what that is…working your butt off and don’t let anything distract you from making it a reality. While you are working towards your life goal don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Enjoy the people you meet, enjoy the crazy stuff that you have to overcome to make your dream real. Work harder and smarter than others who want your same dream. That “and” in the last sentence is big. Some work hard, some work smart, but very few do both.
I would hope that everyone could take something out of my speech and apply it to their life even if it is a tiny thing. If everyone took one thing from my speech I would be very pleased. Have fun on your journey!