Hoop Dreams?

Posted: October 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

Once upon a time I was almost an NBA cheerleader…
Seriously!
A few years ago, when we lived in Dallas, I almost became an NBA dancer…oh, it’s true!
I was a HUGE Mavericks fan, and I saw in the newspaper that the Mavs were having tryouts for Maniaacs.
The Mavs Maniaacs are a hip hop dance troupe of beefy, uninhibited men.
They were the original NBA big man dance team.
They dance at halftime and during breaks.
The tryouts were being held at a local dance studio. There were about 100 big, sweaty, over enthusiastic dancing men. It was a sight to behold and a fragrance to be smelled. The judges were Mavs dancers and local dignitaries. I was dressed for battle: a bright orange Mavericks shirt, blue basketball shorts and Chuck Taylor all stars.
I’m a condensed beefy boy, I was at least a foot shorter that the other dudes. In fact, I Heard one of the judges say “look, is that mini-me?”
This didn’t discourage me.
This was my shot, I was gonna take it.
I knew in my heart that this was my only chance to ever be in the NBA.
They divided us into groups.
They taught us a choreographed combo that we did as a group and then we got to freestyle some serious dancing.
They would eliminate several people after each round. You would wait for your number to be called (or not) and you would proceed (or not).
Again and again I danced my guts out and made it through.
This was my shot, I was gonna take it.
We ended up doing the routine about 8 times. I hadn’t danced like this since…never.
My muscles were rebelling against me.
I’m allergic to choreography.
I’m not coordinated enough to keep up, but I can creatively shake my booty.
This was my chance…my ONLY chance to be a part of an NBA team.
Sometimes life gives you a free throw and you got to take a shot.
Whether you make it or not, you take pride in the fact that you tried.
I made it to the final ten!!! Then they told us that they were looking for five dancers.
One more round…
Ignore the pain…
Take your shot.
During the last round , one of the judges shouted words that I thought I would never hear: “Okay, we want to see some flesh…if you want to be a Maniaac, we need to see your stomach!”
This caused most of the guys next to me to start ripping off their damp shirts and flinging them around slinging warm sweat everywhere. I learned the true meaning of GUTS and glory.
Some things should never be seen…
Some things can never be unseen.
I. Just. Could. Not.
As much as I wanted to be a Maniaac, I wanted to hold onto some shred of dignity.
I couldn’t bring myself to unfurl my man boobs.
I didn’t make the top five.
I was ALMOST an NBA dancer.
I left with my dignity, a really sore back and a great story.
I had stepped out and lived a great story.
Life is about stepping out even when you don’t make the cut.
It’s taking risks, it’s overcoming the paralyzing fear of public opinion.

What if success were all about risking instead of reaping.
What if we realized that it’s better to be an “almost was” than a “never tried”.
What if success were found in the act of stepping out.

Sometimes you got to do something unexpected…unlikely…unbelievable.
We should live in constant pursuit of a better story.
Sometimes life gives you a free throw and you have to take a shot.
Sometimes it goes in the basket…nothing but air.
Sometimes it bounces off the backboard.
Sometimes you don’t even get close.
The point is that you took a shot…you played…you tried…you danced.
You got off your butt, you took a risk, you overcame fear.
And you gained something more valuable than any trophy…
A life lived in pursuit of a better story.
Step up…
Take a shot…
But please, for the love of God, leave your shirt on.

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