Russell Westbrook, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, stepped to the free throw line. He had just taken a hard foul while going up and finishing a strong dunk. Since he made the dunk, he had a chance to make a three-point play with a made free throw. It was getting late in the fourth quarter and the Dallas Mavericks were keeping it close.
The truth is, Russell had been having a hard night. His shots weren’t connecting and at times, it seemed like he was trying to dribble a football. The effect of his struggles was noticeable. He often shook his head and his body language screamed of frustration.
A few moments passed before his free throw attempt, as players moved on and off the court as the coaches searched for the right formula for victory. Suddenly, from way up high in Section 303, about 100 fans stood up and began to chant, “Russell! Russell! Russell!” Spreading like fire, the chant soon wrapped around the arena and nineteen thousand strong were chanting, “Russell! Russell! Russell!”
Russell dipped his head a bit as the chant grew louder, as if to tell himself, “Don’t get distracted. Make this shot.” The official tossed him the ball and with his head still down, he dribbled twice, looked up, pulled up and made the shot. The fans exploded.
The fans may have been cheering Russell Westbrook’s name, but what they were really saying was, “We know things haven’t gone right tonight, but we’re behind you. We believe in you. You’re one of ours.”
Russell finished the game strong with several big plays that helped his team win at the buzzer.
Fathers, sometimes your children just need you to be their cheerleader. Things won’t go right for them, they will get hurt and they will fail. They will get frustrated and it will show. They don’t always need a solution from you. Sometimes, they just simply need you to tell them in whatever words you choose, “I’m behind you. I believe in you. You’re mine.”
Your encouragement may be just what it takes to make them a winner at whatever life has in store for them.
NOTE: This YouTube video captures Russell’s moment. Enjoy.