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"You Never Know"

October 12, 2011 – 06:23 PM
My junior year of high school, I was playing point guard against Matawan. They were one of the top teams in the state at the time, and we were playing them in our X-Mas tournament. At half-time, we had a 15-point lead. But in the second half, we began to get tired. And Matawan came all the way back, cutting the lead to 3 with about 10 seconds left. We had the ball, and they fouled me. I went to the line for a 1-1. If I made both, we were going to win. If I made the first, we were in great shape. Well, I missed the first shot. Matawan got the rebound, passed it to their point guard, who put up a half court shot with 3 seconds left. He made it. We lost in double over-time. To say I was devestated, would be a major understatement. We sat in the locker-room, silent. Some of my teammates were really angry... some were shocked beyond disbelief. Then there was me.. who felt like I let my team down, my coaches down, and my friends and family who were there to support us. I sat in the locker-room by myself, as all my teammates began to leave. I was the last one out of the locker-room. It was about half hour after the game. There were a few friends and family still waiting around, but I didn't want to talk to anybody. I was too upset. But as I was leaving,this woman I didn't know came up to me and said, "Joe Kraus.. you played a great game. I'm sorry you lost. Would you mind taking a picture with my son? He's 7-years-old and loves how you play, and wanted to wait for you so he can tell you you're his favorite player." I was shocked. It turns out, his older sister was a freshman at the school, so they came to all the games. So I gave him a hug, took a picture, and told him to come to the next game, so I can give him one of my wrist-bands. He came to every game after that, and always waited for me after the game. The moral of the story is simple: Everytime you step on the court, you never know who's going to be watching.. and who you may be having an impact on. So when you DO play, make sure you give it everything you got.