2nd Quarter: “Sara, I’m going to try and get Vince Carter’s jersey.”
Rewind five hours: “Hawks game tonight 🤷🏽♂️”
Fast-forward forward seven hours:
Now that the scene is set and some of the dust is settled from my amazing start to November, I want to briefly talk about the lesson in being in “the right place at the right time” and the myth of luck.
Yes, I caught one of my favorite player’s headband. Yes, I ran up the stairs from excitement like I caught the Holy Ghost. Yes, a little kid asked for the headband on the way up, and I told him no after some mental math.
You weren’t even born when Vince was Vince + Yesterday was Halloween, and you got all the handouts you needed + You were not in the right spot, and I was = I’m keeping it.
Catching a legend’s headband is what adolescent boy’s dreams are made of, and it never happened when I was an adolescent, but it happened when I was 31. Better late than never.
I will not go so far as to say my own might and determination was the sole reason for the midair grab. There were obviously some things in my favor. Maybe even a lot of luck if you believe in that sort of thing. Apparently, I was in the right place at the right time.
But why was I in the right place at the right time? Why were you selected for the promotion when there were other candidates? Why were you given an upgrade to first class when there were 180 passengers on the flight? Why did you get the grant for your non-profit when you just made the deadline to submit your paperwork, and you’re almost positive you spelled the committee chairwoman’s name wrong on the application?
Who knows, but what I do know is that you have to put yourself in position to make a play. What I do know is that there would be absolutely no opportunity to catch the headband if I didn’t suggest we go to the game.
What I do know is that you wouldn’t have beat those other applicants if you didn’t work your butt, and fingers, off in grad school writing that thesis aka “Your Baby.”
What I do know is that if I didn’t drive 2.5 hours to visit Julius, one of my best friends and amazing creative, in Atlanta on the way back from Birmingham who had knowledge of an app that got us amazing leftover seats at tip-off, we probably would have been sitting somewhere else or not at the game, period, no catch. (As info, I’ll be interviewing Julius for my Name Great series in the near future. Be on the lookout. 👀 )
What I do know is that if you didn’t spend your hard earned money on a professional conference that your job wouldn’t pay for, you wouldn’t have met the Vice President of Operations for that airline with the upgrade who ended up being your partner in the team building exercise. If it weren’t for your foresight, you wouldn’t have been gifted elite status in the first place. Let’s not forget to mention that on arrival you switched your nameplate with someone else’s at the table because you saw his title. You got there early. You were strategic. You put yourself in a position to win. It paid off months later.
What I do know is that if I didn’t plant the seeds in Sara and I’s friendship ten years ago by gifting her a greek paddle that I spent hours working on (not really), she would have never cared to help scream, record, go to the game and wait with me to the end to accomplish the mission even though the Hawks were getting dog-walked by the Kings.
What I do know is that your non-profit organization’s already established momentum has garnered so much organic buzz that a charitable investor would be a fool not to align their name and money with yours. You created positive energy before you asked anyone for a single cent and you would survive without a handout because you’ve been handing out L’s. The foundation that was laid said more than any application ever could, and yes, you did spell her name wrong. But there is grace for people who are known for doing the right thing.
At the end of the day, it’s a piece of sweated out cotton and polyester, nothing special other than the hall-of-fame legacy it covered, the oldest player in the NBA who has no desire to chase championships but just wants every minute of playing time available because he dedicated his life to the sport.
He put himself in position to garner excitement from a group of longtime fans that just want a glimpse, and possibly memorabilia, of a legend on his probable farewell tour. He worked for our fanship. He wasn’t lucky. Just like you weren’t lucky. You had to hustle. You weren’t invited. You invited yourself.