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June 30, 1996

Drilling Down

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Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch can still taste it on his lips. The glory was almost his. The victory was almost his as well. The game was the Indiana State Sectionals.

Picture the scene: a game-winning shot. But it bounces off the rim, and “Shooter” loses the game. He was devastated—and still is.

Shooter is a former high-school basketball great; he’s now a wounded head of a broken home and the father of a disappointed son. The only taste on his lips these days is alcohol, and lots of it. He went from town hero to town drunk in such a few short years. Often in his drunken binges, he relives the shot that brought disappointment, pain, and shattered confidence.

Then comes Norman Dale to coach the team at Shooter’s alma mater. Shooter’s son is on the team. The story unfolds in David Anspaugh’s 1986 film Hoosiers, a movie about the real value and worth of individuals and about big comebacks.

Coach Dale sees within Shooter something Shooter has forgotten. He sees value. Dales knows that Shooter still understands basketball’s finer points, and he enables Shooter to find his way out of the bottle long enough to regain his self-respect.

It all begins when Dale brings Shooter on board as an assistant coach. One night, in front of the home crowd, Dale purposefully has himself ejected from the game in order to hand Shooter the coaching job for the evening. But what Shooter didn’t realize was that Dale was handing him much more than a job. He was giving him a taste of glory and victory, and much more importantly he was giving him self-worth and value he never thought possible.

Shooter’s comeback wasn’t without failure. He had a chance to shine, but he “dropped the ball,” so to speak. But because of Dale’s influence, the recovery didn’t take quite as long as the first time. The story ends with Shooter still vulnerable, but with a taste of hope and victory on his lips as he repairs his relationship with his son.

I have yet to find a man, whatever his situation in life, who did not do better work and put forth more effort under a spirit of approval than he ever would do under a spirit of criticism.— Charles Schwab

The Power of One means that I make others feel important—and I genuinely believe in their value. Do you believe in the value of others? And do you take the time and effort to tell people you believe in them? That’s the crucial step that many of us are missing in our relationships with others.

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