Show Up for Success – Little Johnny Likes to Play Ball

Johnny liked to play ball. He didn’t care what kind of ball, or what season it was, Johnny just liked to play whatever game was happening around him, and he got really good at knowing when to show up and what ball to bring. He was young, only 11 years old when his mom moved him and his little sister to the city. The high rise apartment building wasn’t really conducive to playing ball, and he wasn’t good enough to get on any of the school teams. Big city boys were bigger, taller, stronger, and more practiced than he was at almost everything. But Johnny liked to play ball.

One afternoon shortly after they moved into the building, Johnny sat at his desk near a window looking down on the street below and realized there was a basket ball hoop on the back of the building across the street and a hand full of boys shivering against the building. He’d never seen those boys before, but they looked like they were about his size, and he hoped, about his age. He grabbed a jacket from the closet, pulled on his high tops and took a basket ball from the box where he stored all his game equipment and headed out the door.

Downstairs on the street, he realized the boys he’d seen were most likely punks with nothing to do, and most likely trouble makers. But he still wanted to play ball. “Anybody want to play a game of basket ball?” He asked as he walked up to the boys.

They looked at each other, didn’t say anything, but all of them followed him around to the basket ball hoop and he started bouncing the ball. Before long, the boys had marked their teams and were beginning to play an aggressive round of basket ball, throwing hoops and capturing ‘points’ on an arbitrary score board. Johnny sunk the winning basket, captured his ball, walked around offering high fives and fist pounds to his new friends and suggested they meet again the next afternoon.

Johnny showed up to play basketball, or hoops as the neighborhood boys called it, every afternoon, and so did his ‘team’. Within a few weeks, the numbers had increased and the boys had a ‘neighborhood competition’ going. One of the boys included his father in a game several weeks later, and his father invited the boys to form community teams. With some help from a few other fathers, their teams had names, uniforms and schedules to play on a community courts. Johnny showed up and ignited a series of events resulting in community teams and tournaments where young boys could always find someplace to play basketball, which evolved into seasonal ball games.

The moral of the story, Johnny did what he loved to do, and since he SHOWED UP to do what he loved to do, he built a legacy of success.

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