Before we get started, take another look at that picture.
Its from back in March, 1995 when Michael Jordan returned to the NBA after a two year retirement, wearing his new #45 jersey. Almost everyone else knows him as #23. In the seasons after, he led the Chicago Bulls to 3 back-to-back-to-back NBA titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998.
Every real player today know’s that there is the throwback of throwbacks. But back then, Michael Jordan wasn’t just reserved for the players. He was world wide. Everyone knew what it meant when he said:
– Michael Jordan.
With just two words, Jordan shook the entire world.
Coming off my injury, I was definitely hoping to do the same thing. At least shake up the college team a little bit. But there’s a few problems:
- I’m not the greatest to ever play the game
- I didn’t stun the world with a surprise retirement
- Nobody missed me
The last one is tough to swallow. But that’s basketball in college. Unforgiving. No matter how much energy I put in when I started, I was still a toddler in every practice game at training. I didn’t leave much of any legacy to be missed.
But it feels good to say it. I’m Back.
A few words doesn’t change anything. There’s no cheers, and my teammates won’t scoot up the crowded bench for me to sit down. No one will hand you a spot they equally fought for. Despite all that, being back has to mean something. Even if all it means is that I’m not out.
I’ve been counting my blessings since I got back on the court. Appreciating the little things. The warm up jog, stretches, strength training every other day, basic layups, even free throws. Everything I took for granted until I simply, couldn’t.
Looking back, I feel like this a good a time to reflect. Its been a long time since Training Day (The Comeback Season #1). A lot of what I did since then didn’t have much thought. I just did. Class, team training, assignments, sleep, and start again. Everyday.
I never really had a plan. Whenever I did scribble something down, I didn’t follow through.
The simple fact is. I was too lazy. Its a strange concept I know. Someone who wakes up at 6am to train, hits the gym every other day and goes to every practice session couldn’t possibly be lazy.
Another simple fact. They can, and they often are.
There’s a comfort you get into. For starters, I was pretty much doing everything expected of me, but In never gave a thought to whether I was doing it right. I went to the gym enough, above the average guy, but I didn’t ask whether I could do more than just above average. And honestly, waking up at 6am is pointless without a plan – which I usually didn’t have.
Obviously I can’t come back the same. Otherwise, what’s the point? Mediocre was not the plan when I got into this. The plan was greatness. If there’s one plan I’ll stick to in life, it’s that one. And there’s only one way to do that:
So here I am back in the game. The question on my mind is, what now?
I guess as a start, I’m not in the mood for another injury. Especially one that I can avoid. So gym. Yeah, hitting the gym a lot harder is definitely part of the plan.
Something else I really want to do is break out of the cycle of work, sleep and team training. When all of it becomes regular it’s easy to get comfortable and stop trying. I think switching up routines and training hours could really make a difference.
I don’t feel like commitment is going to be a problem. Coming from a place where I didn’t think I’d could play the game like I used to, I’m more driven than ever knowing that I’m past that and possibly on the way to something greater.
A friend of mine told me to end this post with a little suspense. But given this insane journey so soon into the Comeback Season, I think the suspense is in the journey itself, and not the writing. Even I don’t know what could come next.
The goal is greatness. Yours, mine, and everyone else’s in whatever it is we do. But the road is unpredictable. The only real way to sign out is –
Watch this space.