I have always loved the game of basketball, especially in high school. Consistently daily I woke up at five in the morning ran two miles and made two hundred shots all before taking a shower and catching the bus before 7:15 am. In a small town named Faulkner Mississippi, our basketball coach drove the bus after school dismissed, so he wasn’t able to work me out nor did he understood individuals.

Daily after school, I stayed behind until my coach finished his bus route and made another two hundred shots after he arrived back to school, he would lock the gym, and I would go to the weight room for weight training — this a short example of the dedication I had only for basketball at this time in my life.

Throughout my high school career in the classroom, I would do just enough to get by! Honestly, I had some teachers who pass me for the year for being an outstanding high school athlete, and I was taught to be respectful. So I earned the reputation of being a mild, manageable respectful athlete. My eleventh-grade English teacher Miss Braddock would challenge my vantage point on life. End of the first semester I had earned a 70% in her class. I had the mindset that was fine as long as I passed. Throughout the final semester, I failed a few tests that were placing me borderline to fail Miss Braddock class. Few weeks before the final exam she offered extra credit to all the class me having a just” good enough to get by attitude” in the classroom mentality I neglected to complete the extra credit.  

Two weeks before the final exam Miss Braddock call out her students’ grades and explain what we needed to earn to pass the class for the year. After she explains my grades, I needed to make a 97% on the final exam to pass for the year. The final exam would cover all material she taught throughout the year. For two weeks I study my butt off day and night. The day comes from me to take my English III final exam for Miss Braddock I complete it and turn it in with confidence due to I had studied so hard. End of the school day I went back to her class to see what I have earned on the exam.  I had made a 95% on the exam leaving me for the year with a 69.2 %.

She looked at me and stated. First, look at how intelligent you are you taught yourself a year worth of material in a week and a half. If you took the same dedication and passion you have for basketball and applied it in every aspect of your life, you will be great in anything you touch. She continues explaining I can’t pass you this year. She stated I offer you extra credit you refused. I didn’t continue to beg I walked to my coach office and explained the situation. He was upset because his star player may not be eligible for next season. He left the office and went into her classroom I don’t know what he said to her, but she walked out of her class toward the parking lot towards her car passing me crying. She looked at me and stated this is the best lesson I could ever teach you as my student. So, I was left to find summer school as our school district did not offer summer school.

We found a school district that offered summer courses one hour away from my home so my summer I was spending my time in summer school no summer league basketball no gym. At this time in my life at age seventeen, I thought this was hell on earth. Safe to say I finished summer school with an “A” first of my high school academic career! My senior year of high school I was more focus with all academics. My senior state standardizes test ask the question “Who was the most influential person in my life”?  I wrote about Miss Braddock. I earned one of the highest scores on the writing portion of the standardized state test in my class. I finished high school with a 1.44 GPA and once I started attended Undergraduate and Graduate School. I would have always had to use tutors, a writing center for assistance with the material I should have learned in high school.

Moreover, this was the life lesson Miss Braddock taught me you couldn’t take every aspect in your life serious because eventually, it will catch up with you when you need it the most!  I went on to earn my Masters Degree, and in the fall I will be starting my doctoral degree. I love basketball because it’s a huge metaphor for life I have been apart of teams as a player and coach whom would do enough to get by the season and when Conferences playoff come now we want to focus and lock in, but at this point, it’s too late. We have already created too many bad habits.

 As a mentor, Coach, educator this is how I approach the student-athletes, I served when I stated let’s “Be Great Everyday” Every day in our lives in every aspect we are going give it our everything. From five in the morning workout in the offseason to the Championship game on Friday at Seven o’clock at night To the Eight  O’clock morning classes we will be consistently first one there in the front row seat ready and eager to learn today, and we will serve our community with a servant’s heart.  My philosophy you can’t cut greatest on and off like a light switch it’s a way of LIFE It’s who you are! Miss Braddock thanks again for the valuable life lesson that I can share with other student-athletes!