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Sunday, July 17, 2011

I want to be a basketball player!

Do you have students that want to be a basketball player or a football player. They say things like, "Why do I have to learn this?" 

  • You have a hard time engaging them in learning to read and write.
  • You've tried the lecture. You've tried telling them about how unlikely it is that they will succeed. 
  • How do you get them interested in school and learning?

Here is a "Rafael story" just for those students. Feel free to change and make it your own story!




Many years ago there were two athletic, strong boys. They wanted to be basketball players. Their names were Abdi and DeShawn. They were both got ok grades. Sometimes Abdi and DeShawn met, sometimes they were close to meeting.

Abdi and DeShawn were starting 4th grade. Both of them had dreams. They both wanted to become basketball players one day. Both of them loved basketball. They both wanted to become professional players on a team.

Every recess they played basketball together. After school, they stayed at the courts and played some more. This, though, is where the similarity ends.

You see, Abdi wanted to be a basketball player. He decided that he needed a plan. All successful people have plans.

He went to his teacher and asked her, “What can I do to become a basketball player?”

He asked the gym teacher, “What can I do to become a basketball player?”

He asked the librarian, “What can I do to become a basketball player?”

They all said, most likely you will not become a professional player. Almost no one becomes a basketball player. Maybe you want to think about something else.

Abdi said, “I know, but what can I do to try anyway? Basketball is my love.”

His teacher said, “Well, you need to make sure you get good grades and ask for help when you don't understand. Stay after school if you need more help. Make sure you can get a basketball scholarship for college.”

Abdi's gym teacher said, “You need to practice 10,000 hours by the time you are 20. I know that's a big number. Just remember, this means you need to practice 2 to 3 hours every single day from now on.”

Abdi's librarian said, “You should read about basketball and famous players every single day. Do it for your reading homework and for fun. Make sure you read 30 minutes a day, so you learn how to become a great player, and have the reading skills to get a college scholarship.”

DeShawn did not have a plan. He just played at recess and after school. He sometimes did his homework. He sometimes didn't get to go to recess because he didn't turn in his homework. He sometimes missed playing at recess because he got in trouble in class. He didn't really like to read that much. Playing basketball was more fun. So he didn't do much reading outside of class.

Abdi worked his plan. Every day he asked his teacher for help if he didn't understand something. If she didn't have time in class, he would ask her after school. He read about famous basketball players for 30 minutes every day. He did his homework, so he could practice during recess. He didn't get in trouble, so he could practice during recess. He practiced after school and asked the gym teacher to give him pointers.

DeShawn didn't have a plan. By high school his grades were so low that he couldn't joining the basketball team. He eventually dropped out of high school. He doesn't have a job, but he likes watching basketball on TV. He just wishes he could find a job.

Abdi worked his plan. He kept his grades up and joined the high school team. He kept on practicing 2-3 hours a day and asked for help. He got a scholarship to go to college, where he practiced more each day. He kept his grades up so he did not have to pay for college.
When it came the day of the draft, Abdi was not chosen for any team. He didn't let that get him down. You see, he had a plan for if that happened. After reading so many books about basketball, he knew that teams need all kinds of professionals.

Abdi always had a back up plan. If he couldn't become a star, he would work with the star players. He became a physical trainer, and now works with professional basketball players that have injuries. He gets to talk with them every day. He gets to play basketball with the star players to help them get better. He earns a lot of money because of all of his hard work.

Abdi gets to play basketball every day and do what he loves. He helps hurt basketball players get back on the court and back into the game!

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