Make or Miss: Life Lessons from Basketball

By: Greg Peterson, Staff Writer

Is life really as simple as make or miss?

Every day, we are faced with making thousands of decisions. Some of them are very minor; such as having to choose whether you rock your favorite Chuck Taylors or Nike Dunks to class.

Most of our days are filled with these minor decisions as the hustle and bustle of being a student seemingly becomes second nature.

However, we all have major decisions looming over our heads. Whether you are a freshman who is focused on boosting your GPA (I too, had a reality check after I got my first semester grades back) or you are a senior frantically thinking about post-grad plans, we all have very pivotal and major decisions on our plates.

It seems as if we always tend to think about missing out on our opportunities. “What if I don’t get accepted into this grad school?” “What if I fail this class?” “What will I do if I can’t accomplish my dreams?”

I had a realization over winter break while I was watching the NBA’s annual slate of Christmas Day games, when I heard a commentator say, “The NBA is a make or miss league.” As someone who watches a somewhat embarrassing amount of sports, this kind of comment would usually just wash over me. But, at that moment, it happened to have a profound effect on me.

The National Basketball Association is a professional sports league that is worth billions of dollars and is the epitome of what any professional sports league aspires to be. Despite the extremely high net worth, the game of basketball simply revolves upon whether a player makes or misses a shot.

A player’s careers can last twenty years or two weeks, and it all depends on a player’s ability to make a shot, give the ball to someone else to make a shot, rebound a missed shot or prevent someone from shooting a shot.

If you go online, you can find countless hours of game highlights where players make buzzer-beaters and clutch shots. What you usually do not find are the highlights where players miss game-winning shots.

Why? Because one miss does not define a player. All of the beautiful shots that were made are just as important as all of the missed shots, ugly turnovers and missed opportunities.

After my many years of watching basketball, I have learned one thing: keep on playing. Whether you make the shot or miss it, keep on playing. It is okay to celebrate if you make that long range three-pointer. It is okay if you clap your hands in disgust after you shoot a bad shot. All of this is okay, but do not forget to stay focused and keep on trying.

If you have a chance to go for the pivotal and all-important- game-winning basket, and you miss it, so what? It was not meant to be. But that does not mean you will not have the same chance again in the future.

So as you are preparing to get ready for this semester, do not forget to take all of your made and missed opportunities in stride. Sometimes, despite the many hours of hard work and practice, you will miss a shot. If you are like me, you will miss many shots. Do not be afraid to keep on going and ask for help, and one day you just might finally sink the shot.


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