When I was young, I was a big fan of Chris Webber. If you’re a Gen-Xer or older, you remember C Webb. And if you’re a Millenial, you probably know about the “time out.” Webber is about 4 years older than me, so when he was a sophomore in high school, leading his team to the state championship (the first of three), I was 12 years old. My dad and I were in the stands with his good friend Kevin Keener (brother of legendary Country Day coach Kurt Keener) watching them win state championships year after year and I became enamored with this kid who did whatever he wanted on the court. I was a Michigan kid growing up (before I saw the light), so when he chose the Maize and Blue for school, along with 4 other highly touted freshman, it made my 15 year old heart sing with joy. I have great memories of watching the Fab Five with my dad. He would bring home newspapers every day and I would clip the pictures and articles of Michigan basketball and save them in a scrap book. This was all before the scandal at U of M, before he became the guy we know now, the seemingly selfish player with the relatively unimpressive NBA career.
Basketball was my sport, you see. Through it I learned lessons that have lasted with me for decades after I finished my official “career.” One in particular sticks in my head today. C Webb came to my high school for a basketball camp the summer before my sophomore year, and shared with us his childhood experience. He talked about the importance of sacrifice for something you love. He talked and I listened. Closely.
He spoke of missing summer vacations as a child. Of his friends going to the movies and roller skating every Saturday. Of parties missed and girlfriends never known. And then he talked of his love for basketball. Of hours and hours spent in the gym, dribbling, working on his post up moves. He said that when you truly find something you love, and when you really want to succeed, sometimes you make decisions. He said that these can be hard decisions to make. He wanted to go on vacation and he wanted to have girlfriends. But he knew that to achieve that which his heart really wanted, he knew sacrifice.
I walked by an “Irish Pub” this morning. I mean, it was more like and Americanized Irish Pub. You know the kind; a few green clovers on the wall, Guinness, an arm and a leg for beer on St. Patty’s Day. “Irish Pub.” There were bouncers at the door and people cackling outside in line. I peeked inside as I walked past and saw about 50 people at 8 a.m. I was heading to the coffee shop. On my way to write this piece, and to get my hustle on.
I used to be the guy that was always down to hang out. When my friends in college would want to go out on a weeknight, it was common to hear “I know Dibble’s in, who else can I wrangle to join us?” But finally, pushing 40 with two young kids and a business, I’m actually excited to be doing the work I’m doing. to be clear, I don’t think I’m a saint for not getting drunk at 8 a.m. Beers at this hour seem more like a chore than a labor of love. I just vommed in my mouth a bit at the thought, actually.
So I guess the lesson for me is that the urge to not do something because I know I should be doing something else comes down to, how badly do I want that something else? Because when I’m walking past a pub full of people having fun, I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing than bringing my work to the world.
I think the thing that makes people like Chris Webber different than the rest of us is that he found his “thing I want to do more than anything else” at a very young age. How do we help kids find that thing? Or maybe it’s not about helping them find it, maybe that’s a journey that has to be taken alone.