Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • February-March 2024 • Circulation 5000

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Taking Those Long Shots

Last year, I began doing something that was both new for me and out of character: I began playing organized sports.

I’m the athletic one in the family. If any of you know my family (or at least know me well enough), this should elicit peals of laughter. My feats of athleticism have been limited to walks, bike rides, and shooting baskets by myself  in schoolyards near my home. 

Last year, in an effort to meet new people and make some healthier life choices, I joined a non-competitive women’s basketball group. We don’t keep score, we have no referee, and body contact is  not permitted (at least, not deliberately). Once a week I join with other mature women in a public school gymnasium as we dribble, pass, and shoot. In fact, I’ve gotten a reputation for making baskets from as far back as the foul line. However, in reality I miss as many baskets as I make.

Which got me thinking: if I didn’t take any shots, then I would at once never miss, yet always miss. As the saying goes, which is believed to originate with hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, you miss 100% of the shots you never take. 

That saying can be applied as a metaphor to many opportunities that life presents us: applying for jobs, going back to school, or simply trying something new. I’ve known many people who avoided doing something out of fear of failure. Or maybe what holds someone back is a fear of success. But if you don’t try, you will never know what the outcome ultimately would have been.

So I am going to continue taking those long shots. When I make a basket I will celebrate, and when I miss I will shrug it off and try to do better next time.

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