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Around the World A Block Away: Lessons in Agendas and Risk-Taking

I was on the home stretch after a long walk when my 8-year old neighbor challenged me to a game of “Around the World.”

He’s very good, even though he’s never played organized basketball.  The youngest of nine children, he is home-schooled and gets his schoolwork done fast so he can get outside to play.  Whether it’s 40 degrees, raining or winds of 30 mph, he’s out shooting hoops.  Once when I pointed out to him that the stand was on uneven pavement and the basket was crooked, he said, “Oh, really? Didn’t notice.  You start.”  He passed the ball to me before I could notice anything else. This time when I told him I’m on the disabled list with a painful bone spur in my shoulder, he said, “That’s too bad.  I’ll let you go first then.”  Game on.

In Around the World, you try to shoot from various positions around the basket.  If you make it, you advance.  If you miss, you can “risk it” for another shot, but the penalty of missing is going back to the starting spot.  This boy was one base away from winning when he missed.  He blurted out, “I’m gonna risk it!”  I reminded him of the consequences. He said, “I know.”  He missed and happily went back to the start.  I knew that grin.  It was the same one my sons wore years ago when we would be playing a game in the backyard, darkness would be falling, and they knew it was bedtime.  They would throw the lead on purpose just to get more playing time.

“M” got 35 more minutes of playing time by “risking it.”  I ended up winning the game even though he was clearly the better shooter.  When I made the final basket, and announced I was going home, he looked sad and when I looked closer, misty-eyed.  He’s a good sport, so I knew it wasn’t because he lost the game; he just didn’t want me to leave.  So I told him I’d be back. I returned the next night only with another boy in the neighborhood, who I introduced as my “substitute.” The two boys, who had never met before, hit it off and played hard while I cheered them both on.

The point of my story?  I had an agenda – it was to go for a walk.  “M” had another agenda for me, and my heart was open to it.  And today two little boys are friends, my shoulder is resting, and its “hat’s off” to staying open to someone else’s agenda.

As for my 8-year old “M”?  He took “the risk”, and in losing, he won.

How cool is that?

Is your agenda keeping you from taking risks or even living life?  Maybe it’s time for a Life Balance Inventory and a review of your priorities.  Check out My Coach Bev’s life, wellness, and health coaching services at   For a free, no-obligation consultation, email me at [email protected]   My agenda is open to you!


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