Be Like Mike...and Markelle
Every basketball fan knows the legendary lore of how Michael Jordan was once cut from Laney High School's varsity squad—and how the pain of playing JV ball propelled him to unprecedented heights. Now we have a new story for our times in Markelle Fultz.
The Sixers' soon-to-be #1 draft pick likewise tried out for varsity as a high-school sophomore and found himself relegated to the JV bench. But did Fultz sulk about the demotion? Did he let fate control his destiny? Did he give up? No way, Markelle was made of sterner stuff. “I never got frustrated, really,” Fultz told Sports Illustrated. “I love the game, so no matter if I’m playing JV or varsity, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”
Which brings us to this week's MPS blog topic: Proactive vs. Reactive. One major goal of our program's mindfulness training is to teach kids how to be proactive. How to have agency over their lives. How to avoid being a reactive pawn in someone else's chess game. When the going gets tough, MP campers get going. That could mean trying out a new sport, or stretching skills in a familiar sport, or showcasing a stage talent in front of their peers. It's all about building confidence and grit.
If MJ or Markelle had merely been reactive to their situations, they might've accepted their JV status and played down to that level. It could've been a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, they took it upon themselves to be proactive and prove, beyond a shadow of doubt, that they were indeed varsity material...and, someday, NBA material. Rather than act impulsively out of frustration, these heroic hoopsters opted to take a deep breath and take the long view, forging a new path with their eyes perpetually on the prize. They came up with their own game plan for life and executed it. “Whenever I was working out and got tired and ﬁgured I ought to stop," Jordan has explained. "I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it. That usually got me going again.”
To put an even finer point on what empowered proactivity means, there's this most famous quote of all by His Airness: “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen."
MP campers make it happen!