Small Victories

Basketball scoreboardWhat is your definition of a victory?

For the fans of our Thomas Academy girls' basketball team this season the definition of victory changed significantly. The team composition varied from game to game with multiple games seeing only five players available to play. The team also included players who had never played organized basketball.

Knowing this information, the fans started focusing on progress instead of wins. It became a goal that they score more points than the last game. It became a goal to see a demonstration of more teamwork on the court. It became a goal of having more second shots.

Off the court, the team continued to work hard to find their connection. It was a clear challenge as communication was strained by upper classmen frustrated by the “lack of skill” of some younger players. Yet it was one of those “unskilled” players that wound up being the catalyst for the biggest victory of the season.

An enthusiastic and energetic girl, she had never played organized basketball before. She started practicing with the team to try to help by giving them more players. She barely understood the rules, but observed, practiced, and learned. Things came to a head when during practice she was defending against one of the senior stars. When she successfully blocked a shot, the senior yelled, “What are you doing?” She yelled back “Playing defense!” While the senior stormed off, the rest of the team started practicing with a different energy and actually did what the coach told them to do.

The next game, the girls worked together. They encouraged each other. They laughed off their small mistakes. They got second and third shots when they missed the first shot. They went after every loose ball. And they scored more points than they had all season. Oh, and they won the game.

Because they had changed their definition of victory, the players had a positive energy during the season. This is something we hope to instill in all the youth served by B&GH through any of our programs.

You define victory for yourself.

If your challenge is going to school every day, then celebrate going two days in a row.

If your challenge is not talking back to an adult, celebrate every time you manage to hold back.

If your challenge is dealing with a difficult teammate, celebrate every time you find a way to encourage instead of criticize.

The small victories add up to the big victories, and that is the brighter future we want to see.

Learn more about the services offered by B&GH.

Melissa Hopkins is the Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina.

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