Have you ever witnessed someone’s success and thought, “Man, that guy is so lucky!”?
As the college basketball season wraps up with the wonders of the national championship tournament, I am enthralled with the games and the amazing feats of the players on the court. All too often I take for granted that the men and women making those shots and executing impressive defenses worked countless hours and put in immeasurable efforts to be there.
I will sometimes find myself saying snarky things like, “Must be easy if you’re 7-feet tall to block that shot” or “Come on! You’re a Division I basketball player; make your free throws.” My jeers and cheers often fall short of the reality that those athletes are under a great deal of pressure, and my yoga-pant-wearing, couch-coaching isn’t providing any assistance or luck to anyone.
Luck is usually a trait that is determined by someone observing a situation. Yes, we can feel lucky because of a positive experience or encounter, but for the most part we consider ourselves to not be as “lucky” as everyone else because we always see someone else’s wishes coming true.
I am reminded of a my last basketball game in the 8th grade. My sister, whom I had always played with on the same team, was in the hospital recovering from a life-saving surgery, and our team and I were playing our arch rivals from Perryville. It was the consolation game of the end of season tournament, and I wanted nothing more than to win that game for my sister. The entire game was a close one. With 10 seconds left, we were tied. After I tied the game with a free throw, the other team was brining the ball down the court.
Their player, a girl who I seriously did not like, dribbled past our guards and stopped right in front of me. She shot. My finger tips grazed the ball.
The ball went in. The buzzer sounded. We lost.
In the locker room, I couldn’t breathe through my sobs. Coach told us we had nothing to be ashamed of and read the game stats. My stat line read: 4 fouls, 10 points, and 8 blocked shots, but none of that mattered because that other girl got “lucky” and beat us. I wasn’t “lucky” enough to win that game for my sister and my team. The refs were against us. We didn’t get a fair shot. I was hurt and couldn’t see that luck had nothing to do with our loss. We simply didn’t have the most points on the board at the end of the game.
Today I realize I was lucky to have a sister whom I loved with such passion, and that she was on the road to recovery. I was lucky to have a chance to compete at a sport that I was crazy about with coaches and a team that were there for my family and me in those tough times. I was lucky that I didn’t foul that girl when she shot, foul out, and lose by 3 instead of 2.
Luck is in the eye of the observer. When you see someone and think they are luckier than you, ask yourself, “What’s luck got to do with it?”
Take time to reflect on what makes you lucky or adds favor to your life.
As you take on the madness of March, seek out what sets you apart from others and what treasures make your life fortunate. Make a “Luck List.” Jot down all the blessings and amazing people, talents, and opportunities you’ve got going on. Fill the list and your month with awareness for all the luck in your life. Be the observer of luck. When you look for it, I’m certain you will be fortunate enough to find more than enough good stuff to fill that list.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. I do believe Division I basketball players should be able to make their free throws, but that doesn’t mean I think they are lucky when they do.