Four dimes, one nickel, one hundred and sixty-seven pennies
Grand Total of two dollars and twelve cents.......
Our perceptions are what we go on for the most part. Hopefully, as our experiences expand we will develop a rationale that allows us to consider the many scenarios for possible outcomes appropriate for the discussion as we make our decisions. I want you to consider opportunity. I will paraphrase an old adage,” If opportunity presented itself dressed in Louis Vitone carrying a Prada purse, identifying it would be easy.” I take wide liberty with this paraphrase. More to the point, everybody would be taking advantage of every opportunity presented. We know, however, that is not the case. So, too, the people that we meet. We never know when the person before us might represent an extraordinary opportunity. Here is a case in point.
I am going to call him Oscar. As an “over the hill (OTH), never going to go to the NBA”, basketball addicted father of three, most afternoons would find me and my three sons at the park. They would entertain themselves while I joined the other OTHers. Oscar was one and he had some skills but he was not that tall, fouled a lot and was fouled frequently in return. However, we thought that most of the fouls he called were not legitimate. At the same time when he fouled one of us, there was no doubt that he got his money’s worth. I grew agitated and hostile. I had made up my mind that there was going to be a brawl. All I needed was another bogus foul called or hard “non-foul” from him and it was going to be him and me and the asphalt. He did not disappoint.
A hard foul came as I drove for a lay-up and it was almost on except...Mr. mistakes, Mr. Holloman Speaks who was about nine or ten at the time, was watching the competition at the edge of the basketball court. I restrained myself not wanting to set a bad example. The lion’s share of being a good parent begins with not setting a bad example. No smoking, swearing or drinking to excess is a start. And, for sure, no brawling on the playground. Now, fast forward about ten years.
The All-American Cage Classic came to Mobile in 1997 or there abouts. After a brief investigation, we found that there was a need for some local teams to fill out the draw. I set out to field some teams and did so. I solicited use of the Middle School gym. In soliciting some help, who would you guess stepped up? Oscar. We, along with my sister, Aleisa, and others, fielded three teams and competed. We had only two months to prepare while the teams that came to Mobile to play had played through tournaments to arrive at the Classic. We were no competition for them. But that is not the point. For a moment in time our kids were afforded an opportunity and they took advantage of it. Oscar was an integral part of that outcome.
As a result of the effort, the teams continued even after the Classic. We even had teams from Pensacola to come and compete while we traveled there in return. The Boys and Girls Club took note and created a chapter for the area. The Boys and Girls Club continues to this day, fourteen years later.
Maybe Oscar would have assisted me whether or not we had a brawl that day. And maybe I would have slammed a door needlessly only to satisfy my need for revenge. The good news is we will never have to ask the question. What we do know is that a positive outcome may have been guaranteed by my showing a little restraint. I can’t take full credit though. I have to thank Mr. Hollomon Speaks.
As for “The Duck”, if it looks like just a duck, it might just be an opportunity. Even If there is no Prada purse, it may still be an opportunity. And if he/she is someone who challenges your dignity or your basketball skills, it might just be an opportunity to accomplish something grand.
Winston S. Williams, Sr.