Dance with the one what brung ya.
Excuse me sir, how do I get to Carnegie Hall? Practice!
Sometimes cliches and little witticisms have so much truth embedded in them.
Yesterday, after Tony’s basketball game I was quiet. So much so that he asked if I was mad. Usually I have quite a bit of talking to do about what he did well, what he could do to improve his game, etc. Yesterday, I just didn’t feel like talking. It usually just turns into a monologue with me droning on about this and that.
I told him that I was tired, which was true, and said no more. About half way home he could no longer stand it and asked me: “Poppa, what was wrong with my shot tonight?”. Yeah, he really calls me “Poppa”, and I love it. My response was short and to the point: “You’ve gotta ask yourself: How many shots per week do I take including practice?” That’s all that I said.
I’ve observed, since the beginning of the season, that his playing time is lessening, his shots are ‘off’, and his dribbling skills are about where they were some 5 or 6 months ago. I know the reason; he’s yet to accept them. Lack of practice.
I remember when I was about his age, or perhaps a year older, I discovered this thing called a computer. At that time, it was only a Radio Shack TRS-80 with about 4K of memory. I really, really wanted one. I convinced my parents to loan me the $1,000 to get one. Mind you, this was circa 1977-78 or so, so that was a whole lot of money. I’ve always been good at saving money, so it wasn’t an issue. I bought this computer, started learning programming, and spent every waking hour outside of school, work, and sleep, learning to program. I did this for a couple of years and became quite adept at it. I knew that that was what I wanted to do for my career. It’s what I do today.
Another of my memories is that when I picked up bowling, along about the 10th grade, or about 1 year or so after I got the computer. The bowling bug hit me hard. Now, I had 2 passions! At one point I stopped with the computer so that I could do bowling. I bowled for years and years. At one point, I was practicing 100+ games/week and bowling in 4 leagues! I spent nearly every single dollar that I made, at my part time job, on bowling. My average soared to 212 at one point. I had one perfect game of 300, and a couple of 3-game series of 750+. I never got to the 800 series that I wanted, but that’s OK. I even thought of becoming pro, but decided that I didn’t have the skill nor the desire to take it to that next level … to thine own self be true.
My third and final passion took over my life when I graduated from high school and started attending college. Photography. Somehow, I did this and bowling at the same time. If I wasn’t at the bowling alley, I was somewhere taking pictures, or in the darkroom developing them.
Never, in life, did my parents have to say these things: Practice your programming, bowling, or photography. Never. It was more like, you need to do something else … become more well rounded. I never headed that advice. So, today I program for a living, and still practice photography to enhance my ‘life’. The bowling, well I got burned out on that and one day just decided to quit and have never looked back. I’ve not bowled in probably about 5 years or so, but I don’t miss it.
My point in all of this is that if you have a passion, no one needs to make you practice. In fact, quite the opposite. Some may tell you that you need to do other things. So, being true to yourself means looking deep within, analyzing what you see, and coming to an acceptance of the truth. Or, if you don’t like what you see, change it.
Practice makes perfect, but … To thine own self, be true!