Shoot your shot

When actor and former NFL linebacker Terry Crews was a senior in high school, he played on the basketball team. During a practice session, he had an open shot and his coach yelled at him for not passing it to the team’s star player, Craig.

When Terry tried explaining himself, his coach stopped practice and instructed Terry to shoot the ball while his teammates watched. Terry missed. The coach told Terry, “See, you’ll never be as good as Craig. Never. Don’t you ever shoot the ball again. You pass it to Craig. That’s what you do.”

Terry was still athletic enough to remain in the team’s starting line up, but he got the coach’s message—pass the ball to Craig. 

Terry’s team made it to the final championship game, and they were down by two points with five seconds left on the clock. Terry managed to steal the ball from the other team, but Craig was too far away from the net. There was no way he could score. 

As the seconds counted down, Terry decided to shoot the ball himself. He missed. The coach blamed Terry, and so did a story published in the local paper.

Terry would usually mentally beat himself up. He wondered if he would ever be good enough. He wanted to be a winner so badly, but he felt like he just kept losing. Now everyone was blaming him for the team’s loss.

But this time, he said something different to himself, as if a voice came out of nowhere in his mind. “You took the shot,” it said. “The other guys didn’t. The whole year, you passed it to Craig. But when it came down to it, you took your shot.”

That voice changed everything for Terry. He writes in Manhood, “From now on, I’m taking my shot. No matter what, I’m taking my shot.”

Or, as he said in an interview, “If I win or if I fail, it’s going to be on my terms. It’s going

to be up to me. Ah! If I have the opportunity I have to go for it. And then I felt really good about losing the game.” 

Instead of stewing in the loss and blaming himself, Terry noticed the silver lining and focused on the long-term. He learned a lesson, that he couldn’t always count on someone else to bail him out of a situation. No matter the consequences, he decided that he would be responsible for his own success or failure.

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