If you read my blog, you know that I am a Miami Heat fan. And with all due respect to Shaq, my boy Dwayne Wade is the star and the future of that franchise. On the court, the offense flows through him. Off the court, the entire organization is banking on D-Wade’s marketability to sell tickets, generate excitement and remain a strong figure in the South Florida sports/entertainment landscape.
And with the release of his new shoe, D-Wade is all over the place, especially on the Converse web site. And if you haven’t seen it, you really should go check out the ad for his new sneaker. The catch line is ‘Fall Seven Times, Stand Up Eight’. It‘s a poignant line, and the spot captures and epitomizes the type of player Dwayne is. For a small guy, it’s amazing how he is able to pick himself up after some of those hard fouls he takes driving the lane and taking it to the basket.
There is something to be said about having that type of resiliency. It takes not only character, but also courage, to get back up. Even when you know that you are likely to get knocked down again, you have to stand up. You have to get up, dust yourself off, and keep on chugging.
Life has taught me that over and over, especially this past year. You can’t stay down. You need to bounce back. But this time it is a little different for me. In hoops, you can foul out. For me, I feel like I got fouled out. Right out of a dream. Right out of my imaginary ‘happily-ever-after’. And unlike the previous times, where in pure D-Wade fashion I’d get up, shrug it off and ask for the ball again, this time I’m done.
I just don’t have the energy or the will to keep running in this game. Some of you may know what it’s like to play 5-on-5, full court all day in the blazing heat. It can be exhausting and draining, but also very fun and rewarding. To play a sport for the sheer love of playing the game. But there comes a time when you just have to get your ball and go to a different playground, because the hard fouls keep getting harder and it’s just no more fun. There is a saying in basketball. “No harm, no foul.” Well, this time there was harm. Big-time harm. Technical foul kinda’ harm. Ron Artest ‘aint got nothing on this situation. And as a result, it’s time for me to stand up, shrug it off and call it a game.
But don’t shed a tear for me, for I am not walking off the court with my head hung low. I walk away with a sense of liberation. I walk away free from the shackles of a dream. I walk away without the dead-weight of hope and expectation. I walk away knowing that I left it all, all 100% of me, out on the court. And I leave knowing there are other games to be played, and other courts on which I can display my ‘mad skilz’.
I walk away knowing that the dreams I have don’t necessarily die, but rather change. And I smile at the excitement of completing those things on my life’s to-do list with someone new, whoever that ends up being.