My initial instinct when presented with unpleasantness is to fight. But I know if I react and throw an elbow, then Iíll collect a foul. If I get too many fouls, then Iíll be out of the game and incapable of performing. I wonít do anyone any good.

Driving to the basket, she didnít shy away from the defender who was marking her. As she rose up with the ball, she executed perfect form until ... KABOOM, she launched the ball off the backboard.

I watched the ball go sailing back toward the foul line instead of into the intended basket, and chuckled.

My daughter has put in hours learning how to shoot a basketball. At home in the driveway she makes more buckets than misses. She knows she can shoot, but come game time, when the pressure is on, she forgets what sheís learned.

Part of it is experience; sheís only 12 and still building muscle memory. Sheís not at the place yet where her body will naturally respond to someone banging into her as she goes up for a shot.

Itís almost as if she feeds off the energy of the other player; absorbing the hit that then flows through her hands, causing her to use more force than necessary when releasing the ball.

Weíve been working on the release, or the ďtouch,Ē if you will.

Itís tricky to adapt to someone coming at you 100 mph or whacking at your arms. Despite this, you still need to hold onto the ball and determine the right moment to let go. Then, when you do let go, itís a soft release, not a launch.

Learning to master this isnít easy.

Iím much gentler on my daughter than were those who taught me. Iíve had coaches whack me with brooms; my stepfather used to muscle me, literally pushing me to the ground, and my brother and the guys twice my size who I played pick up with never gave me an inch.

Over time I learned to protect myself and the ball. I developed a soft touch and scored quite a few points. I still got blocked now and then but, in the end, I learned to sink more through the net than not, despite the obstacles.

Just like an opponent on the court, life comes at you hard sometimes. Pain, fear and roadblocks often stand in the way.

My initial instinct when presented with unpleasantness is to fight. But I know if I react and throw an elbow, then Iíll collect a foul. If I get too many fouls, then Iíll be out of the game and incapable of performing. I wonít do anyone any good.

The trick is figuring out how to respond to negativity and get the result you want. Itís learning to remain calm in the middle of the heat.
But then again, you do get five fouls. So, if someone isnít getting the message there are times you might have to throw an elbow to get your point across.

Ultimately, itís learning to adapt to whatís in front of you. Learning to push yourself past the things you initially think are bigger than you, things you never think youíll overcome. Itís taking the hits along the way and coming out on the other side, watching the ball fall through the net.