Shoot Your Shot
Fear of failure is at an all-time crescendo. The Social Media Era has the volume of our daily lives on full blast, yet so many still favor the “mute” button
The United States of America is a country built on the backs of unpaid, enslaved labor, empowering generational wealth and institutional racism for centuries…oh, and gritty risk-takers! Did we stand down when a Communist force attempted to dominate us in a Canadian activity? Have we batted an eyelash when foes attempted to fool us? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Americans have long faced daunting odds and uproariously laughed in the face of adversity, while launching salvos of freedom. Haven’t we come too far, only to become docile snowflakes in 2017? Fret not, as there is a creed which can spur tangible change for those whom are challenge-averse: Shoot Your Shot.
You are an African-American high school student living in a tony Los Angeles suburb. You have managed to gain possession of the basketball for your prep school varsity team. There are mere seconds left in the championship game and your team’s best player, who happens to have been born and raised in West Philadelphia, where he spent copious amounts of time on the playgrounds shooting hoops, is calling for the ball. He also is your first cousin. Should you demure, make the pass and observe his triumph? Or: Shoot Your Shot.
The time is 3:30am. Your Lyft is en route, as you brush Jumbo Slice pizza crust crumbs from your disheveled button-down shirt. With your iPhone battery nearing critical mass, you decide now is the perfect time to peruse all of your social media platforms. Through your drowsy, inebriated fog you discover an oasis in the desert of your fledgling love life: a newly-minted “Single” Facebook status attributed to that crush who you have always desired, but never had the gall to inform. You click the “direct message” box with apprehensive trepidation. Should you stand down until you can dictate your feelings more concisely and coherently? Or: Shoot Your Shot.
You are tired of the system. As a parent of three prominent youth basketball players, all of whom are named after you, a dilemma is on the horizon. Shoe companies, colleges, AAU coaches, all vulture and profit from the talent of your sons. Why should they feed from the hard work of young men that you raised, coached and pushed to become great? Media outlets and talking heads soon become skeptical of your methods and resumé. They goad you onto brilliant, and not-at-all antagonistic quality programs, like ESPN’s “First Take,” and you can feel the walls closing in. You could be silent. You could let the world think Michael Jordan could beat you one-on-one, or that “Big Baller Brand” is a tragically doomed name for an athletic lifestyle company. Or: Shoot Your Shot.
Other than doctor-assisted outer beauty, your family does not have much to offer society. The older daughters seem to only excel at dating famous athletes and musicians, while occasionally dabbling in cinema. Your younger daughters attempt to solve the country’s racial divide through the power of sugar-bomb carbonated beverages. You could be a shrinking violet in the flower bed of celebrity. Slink away to live an undisturbed, and drama-free life away from the cameras. Or: Shoot Your Shot.
Finally, you are an orange-hued megalomaniac, who despite countless failures at business, is considered a “great” business man. You decide that slapping your augmented surname onto buildings is a winning decision. You seek out an arena where your xenophobic and nationalistic views can be embraced by “real America.” Should you let your complete lack of qualifications, talent, temperament, knowledge or ability to lead keep you from your dreams? Can you make a neighboring ally pay billions for an unrealistic, overgrown Lego set of a wall on our border? How hard can the highest office really be? Do not let the overwhelming voices of the 66 million Americans that did not vote for you impede your progress. Shoot. Your. Shot.