Hey #FlightNation!!! It’s been a whirlwind of a few days. If you’ve been following, you know that Tuesday’s game was a very big game for us. We got a chance to play our first Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) Team. The CBA is the top division of pro basketball in China. It’s China’s NBA so to speak, and every year, numerous NBA players decide to play in China instead of the NBA. You might remember Stephon Marbury. When the NBA teams neglected to give him any more chances, he went to China for about 7-8 years, finishing up an illustrious career while becoming one of the only Americans to gain dual citizenship in China. He has a statue outside of the arena for the Beijing Ducks.
Anyway, it was a big game for us on many levels. For one, to my knowledge, we are the only US minor league basketball team to actually play against a CBA team. Yes, there are tours for US teams to China all the time, but they are mostly compiled of a collective group of players from various locations. We are the first actual existing team with a legitimate brand to do so.
Obviously, playing against a CBA team puts the Florida Flight and the entire FBA on the map competition-wise. China is a great country for players NOT in the NBA to play in (it’s even a great place for NBA players to play in, too, but that’s a different story). The country’s fervor for basketball is at an all time high. The love we’ve received by the fans while here has been incredible. China is also heavily investing in basketball. Most of the games are jam packed with fans, which also causes sponsors to jump on board. Bottom line is China is a place where players can get a great financial contract to play.
I was really hoping to kick down the door and prove the Florida Flight and FBA as credible, high standard opponents for the CBA with a big time win yesterday. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it out. We lost by 4. It was obvious that every 50-50 call was going to the home Team Tongxi. The foul count and free throws was extremely lopsided. Regardless, we had soooo many opportunities to close out the game and win. I’ve watched the last 2-3 minutes of the game countless times. From two crucial, bone-headed turnovers, three solid 3-point looks, to 4-5 offensive rebounds and outback’s, all that did not go in, the game was ours to win. We just couldn’t get it done.
As for how I feel about it, on a personal level, I just feel like a guy who’s had an incredible life…an incredible, unlikely story of perseverance and faith to establish the basketball career I’ve got, but unfortunately, I keep getting to the big moments and coming up short. I’m so tired of not being able to deliver. I know all of you will counter this feeling with positive vibes and encouragement, and I love you all for that, but I’m sick of losing when it counts. I want to deliver on the first shot. That’s just how I feel. I don’t want to hear anything about foul counts or any excuses, no matter how valid. We had a chance to win the game but fell short.
And that’s why I love my wife so dang much. While everyone came with “you’ll get ‘em next time”…”Look how far you’ve come”…”Don’t let it take away from your experience”, etc., my wife gave me this powerful wisdom:
She said, “Don’t you forget about the loss at all. Don’t cast away your feelings and emotions on this. All of your life those feelings of coming up short have stirred your soul and driven you to get to where you are today, and you know you aren’t done rising up. You know you want more in this career. This, too, will cause you to work harder…to keep pushing for excellence. These emotions you feel are the reason you are who you are. You cannot and should not try being something or someone different. Don’t let it ruin your confidence, but let it drive you harder!”
Mannnnnn…my wife!!!! My love…my heart. She gets me. I love that song “When It Comes to Us” by Frances. It’s about how two different people from two different places are so different but yet so perfect together (fave line is “it really shouldn’t work but it does!”). You’re reading this blog, I hope, because it’s interesting and fun, but I want you to see it as more than that. Life has so much more for us than to be entertained. We all have those things we want to accomplish. We have dreams and aspirations…things we want to achieve. Do not relieve yourself of those feelings deep within your soul, even when you fail, fall or come up short (I’m trying hard to listen to this advice, too). God placed that there on purpose.
And so we move on to our next game, seeking another victory. Seeking a chance to ensure that people believe the Florida Flight belongs here in China as a worthy opponent. To ensure the Florida Basketball Association continues to garner respectability and credential to put forth players that are worthy of playing professionally beyond the FBA and in other countries. To cancel out any sense of imposter syndrome. To believe that I, TOO, belong where I am. As a coach that’s hard working, intelligent and capable of leading any fine young man that gives me a chance by accepting an invitation into my Florida Flight program. I don’t know where I’m headed next, but I’ll not give in to any losses are shortcomings. I’ll start delivering on these opportunities one day…one day soon. I believe that. My wife believes that. My daughters believe that. And to my other friends and family that also believe in me, who inspire and encourage me, and pray for me…I’ll not quit. But you don’t quit either. I believe in you, too. Let’s be great together!
Until next time…