About an hour away from their destination, a junior team was on the way to a playoff series when the coach addressed his players.
“We are going up here to face the Mavericks, and we can not let the hostile atmosphere seal our fate,” the coach began. We have to be prepared to be mocked and scourged, but we can come out of this weekend with the series evened up.”
The Mavericks’ home ice advantage was legendary and a lot of that had to do with the fans. The coach understood just how the atmosphere could have an adverse effect on the visiting teams.
The regular season series with tonight’s host had been intense to say the least, with both teams taking a single road win in the six-game schedule. The fact that the Mavs were able to steal two on the road to open the playoff series certainly intensified the situation.
As they were offloading the bus, a father approached the coach with his two sons wishing to ask him for something. The coach responded to her, "Sure, what can we do for you?" The father answered him, "please consider that these two boys of mine get an opportunity to try-out for your team for next season."
The coach said in reply, "I don’t think you do not know what you are asking. Can these boys really know what it takes to play on this team?" They said to him, "We can."
The boys’ father was a local ex-pro that was having a hard-time facing the reality of his sons’ situation. Maybe getting into a spat with the Mavericks’ owner was taking a larger toll on the boys’ career than what he imagined. He knew the visiting team could be just the situation where his boys can get out from behind his shadow.
The coach replied to the brothers, "then join the boys while they prepare for tonight’s game, I want you both to get a glimpse of what it really takes to be a part of this group."
When the team heard this, they became indignant at the two brothers.
But the coach said to his team, "You know that the Mavericks have overlooked these boys, and sometimes that’s all it takes to change a player’s perspective. One of these brothers may be your next line mate and the other may be just the spark this team really needs to win it all next year.”
There are a lot of teams that are made up of castoffs from other organizations. Las Vegas comes to mind.
The coach in this story used the presence of the two brothers to inspire his team and it proved to be very effective, and his team rebounded to with the series 3-2.
The brothers were invited to main camp and made the coach’s roster for the following season.
There are very few coaches out there that will simply shut the door on a player that deserves an opportunity. Sometimes all it takes is a little perseverance to create opportunities.