How a Rebounding Frame of Mind Has Shaped My Life Over Time

by on March 30, 2022 · 5 comments

in From the Soul, Sports

by Ernie McCray

I can’t remember who the player was
in all the March Madness
the other day
but he
grabbed a rebound
with such power and grace
it etched a “Wow” in the expression on my face
and he had a look on his face
that I used to have when I played,
a look reflecting the feeling
you have when you’ve earned your pay
because often you have to snatch the ball
off the boards
in a middle of a fray
although sometimes it just happens
to bounce your way.

But you’re the man
when you’ve got a rebound in your hands
because in that moment
you’ve got all kinds of options
at your command:
you can shoot that sucker
in some defender’s face
or flip it to a teammate
for a layup
or a slam dunk
that rocks the place
or you might whip an outlet pass
to ignite a fast-break
or keep it to yourself
with a little shake
and bake
or have it stolen from you
because it wasn’t tucked away
and cherished
for goodness’ sake.

I worked on it every day
just for the thrill of it
and got good at it
because I copped
a rebounding attitude
that was instilled in me
by a coach who,
whenever a shot was put up,
made the team,
get after it
yelling “Mine!”
Every single time.
Unless you wanted to sit next to him
on the pine.
I took that to mean,
that if a task is be taken on
you can’t assume
that somebody else is going to do
the work that needs to be done.
It’s on you.

How I’ve lived
has been governed
by such a frame of mind,
how I’ve parented those children of mine
how I’ve worked with students of mine.

It’s informed my performing
and my writing
and why I’m active
in seeking social and political change
all the time.


Seems sports and life

can nicely intertwine

over time.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

bobo March 30, 2022 at 8:32 pm

Thank you sir! That was a joy to read


Dr. Michael Alston March 30, 2022 at 10:13 pm


As always I enjoyed this piece you’ve written. You are a great communicator through the written word.

If you’ve not yet done so, I encourage you (and your readers) to hear first-hand about the life and times of Mr. Bill Russell (Boston Celtics) in this 187-minute Library of Congress interview:

“Bill Russell oral history interview conducted by Taylor Branch in Seattle, Washington, 2013 May 12.”

Well worth the time to hear him talk — about his entire life.

Michael Alston


Shirley Sprinkles March 31, 2022 at 3:04 am

Loved this, Ernie! I never played basketball, but I know a lot about “rebounds.” (LOL) Your story should inspire folks to reflect on their “rebound” experiences and feel good; reminiscent of an old gospel song, “How I got over!”


Toni Kaus March 31, 2022 at 4:50 pm

Love this!


Marc Andrews March 31, 2022 at 6:30 pm

and Tokken
and eatin Hodads by the Bay
high as a kite
don’t know day from night
time to uber home to OB
lookin in the mirror
Im a mess
Help, please is this me


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