Just as they did every year, they set their focus on that championship so they could develop the skills they needed to reach it. Changing competitors required them to develop different skills and he just happened to be the scorer they needed that season. As the leading scorer for the team he assumed the championship would be theirs by the end of the season, mostly due to his expertise.
The season had flown by and they were already two games before the desired championship. He stepped foot on the court with no doubt in his mind he would close out this season strong. His teammate passed him the ball and he took a long three-point shot. He sunk it as a huge smile sneaked across his face. In typical form he dramatically pumped his fist in the air. Only 7 minutes into the game and they were leading by 14 points. He knew it was only a matter of time until they closed out the game, as he dribbled down the court to take yet another shot. Right foot planted, he pivoted toward the basket. Left foot planted, he bent his knees and brought the ball overhead. The ball released as he felt a blunt force from behind drop him to his hands and a pop echoed through the air as the competitor landed on his leg.
Finding his way to his feet wasn’t possible as he cradled his knee and winced in pain. The referee ushered a medic onto the floor and told him not to move. They quickly surmised it was his left knee and he needed an X-ray. As they rushed him to the ER, all he was thinking was, “there’s no way we will make the championship now”.
The team needed to quickly re-strategize because the end goal was still the same: to win and make it to the championship. Coach chose to realign the team and rely more heavily on the close shooters to ensure most of their points now came from lay-ups. Removing the risk of turnovers by placing their record-height center closer to the basket and ensuring their chance of scoring with new, cutting-edge plays was sure to secure the win.
Time quickly passed and they seemed to execute the plays perfectly. The team played as though they weren’t missing their leading scorer who was lucky enough to return from the ER in time to watch them lock in their win with another lay-up as the buzzer rang through the gymnasium. He was shocked and a little ashamed that he was, because he knew he played with the best team. He knew they couldn’t have won the game with only one person; it took teamwork. But, he realized he might have a lot more to learn about what teamwork actually meant. As he congratulated his teammates and announced he would be out the rest of the season with a torn ACL, he assured them he wouldn’t miss a game. Becoming a better teammate was now his new end goal.