I spoke with a (teacher) friend about my most recent blog post. "Do you think I'm a jerk?" I asked her. She said no. I asked what she would have done if in my shoes...
I would have said "Well, we better get you signed up for a lot of basketball teams then, because it's going to take a lot of practice to play pro basketball," she told me. She also told me that to be an "expert" at anything, research says it takes about 20,000 hours of practice. Wow. That's a lot of practice.
I saw the kid a few days later, walking with his peers. "Hey," I hollered out. "I found the statistics on playing professional basketball." He and his friends stopped to listen. "0.03 percent," I told him. His friends laughed. "That's less than 1 percent, dude, so it's gonna take some work. If you're not already, you may want to sign up for a couple of basketball teams, and start thinking about when you can practice. It takes 20,000 hours to become an expert at something, so consider how you might manage your time. It may mean working out before school, going to school, doing homework, and then practicing for an additional 3-4 hours."
"Daaaayum," his friends said, "that's a lot of practice." "It is, but if you want to play pro ball, you gotta put in the work. And I'm happy to support you as best I can...you just have to let me know what you need from me." "Cool," he said, and walked down the hall with his friends. "20,000 hours, damn bro, you got hella work to do," his friend yelled out.
I felt okay about this conversation.... I didn't crush the dudes dreams. I offered a few suggestions, and my support. That's about all I really can do. It will be interesting to see what he does in the future. I wish him all the best. (<-- and not in the "save the children" kind of way, but in that I hope he follows his dreams and feels supported and cared for). He deserves it.