My perspective is based on the fact that I have been the “only one” in the following situations:
…. male teacher in a room …. librarian in a room of coaches …. coach in a room of librarians …. male English teacher …. coach to use the shuffle offense …. coach to use the match up defense … teacher to write a grant for my students …. use technology in my department …. teach a grammar lesson on the last day before a holiday … fuss at parents while coaching a basketball game …. publish an article on Google Classroom in my district …
… and the list goes one, but the facts listed above may be enough to get this blog started.
Being the “only one” acting on or participating in any situation is difficult. In my experiences, people have more “ammo to shoot” at you when there is failure, and even when there is success. At one point in my life, doing presentations about basketball or education helped provide a decent amount of extra money for me. Because my confidence was high, and my ability to use technology, the creation of these presentations were simple.
For my basketball presentations, the use of animation and PowerPoint created a systematic process for coaches to follow about the Shuffle Offense. This offense was used for about four years doing my coaching career. After dissecting the offense, alternatives to creating structure offenses evolved in my mind and on the court. All derived from my understanding of the Shuffle Offense. So, with this background information, the conception of Animated Playbook was introduced to the world. Well, at least in Virginia.
One of my largest presentations was at the VHSL Basketball Coaching Clinic. At this clinic, the demonstration of my knowledge on the Shuffle Offense reached about 130 coaches. There were two 50 minute sessions, and each one had about 60 coaches from across the state of Virginia. My ultimate goal was to speak to the coaches, and then have them invite me to their individual schools for an actual “hands on” clinic. The future business depended on my ability to create curiosity, as well as share specific knowledge about the topic. I was able to do both.
Of course there were coaches who were intrigued and asked meaningful questions, but then there were the ones who “tested me” in terms of my knowledge. Personally, these were the coaches that really didn’t understand, or they were trying to prove me wrong. Either way, it didn’t matter because of my competitive nature, I enjoyed to questions and the challenge. Oh yeah, this is what happens when you are the “only one” acting on or participating in while others are just observing and criticizing.
One coach, during the first session, raised the question that a particular component of the offense wouldn’t work against his team. I said, “Maybe you are not seeing the option I am speaking about because it will work.” He insisted it wouldn’t work, and I insisted it would. Finally, it took someone else to intervene. Another coach said, “It will work because of the second and third option. You just don’t see it because you are only thinking about your team.”
“Thank you!” was my reply, and the presentation continued.
Now, this is just one of the abbreviated stories about me being the “only one” in a room acting on or participating in throughout my life. It’s not easy because people are able to judge you at something they would never do themselves. This environment can become hostile, as well as rewarding. As an individual, I use to be uncomfortable when I was the “only one”, but as my experiences increase, so does my confidence.
Please reflect on when you have been the “only one” as well as when others are the “only one”.