The last seat on the bench.
I was blessed with the opportunity to play basketball at the University of Georgia from 1991-1992. I spent many years and many hours playing basketball so I could play college basketball. All I dreamed about was playing college basketball in Athens Georgia. I was relentless in my pursuit of that goal, and nothing was going to stop me. However, I am sure you would have a hard time remembering me being on the UGA basketball team. You see, I was the kid that sat in the last seat on the bench. That is not the seat you want to sit in during any sporting event. It means you are not very good, and all the fans know that very fact. In fact, you are so bad that most fans feel sorry for you, and they even become big fans always hoping you will get a chance to play! Then when you did get in a game, the fans would all cheer and yell for you to score.
It did not take many games sitting on the end of the bench to realize I was not going to continue my basketball career after graduating. I had worked day and night for many years and, I had given up so much only to be the last guy on the bench. So, I started to spend some time on the bench thinking about what I would do after basketball. I would look in the stands and see men with dress coats on and wonder what they did to be successful. If I saw a family together, I began to think about having my future family, and how I would love them all to be Georgia Bulldawgs. During time-outs, I would encourage my teammates, look at the cheerleaders, pay attention to the coach, and then ease my way back to the end of the bench. It was during this time I decided I wanted to be a “stockbroker” as it was called back in those days. I thought about buying and selling stocks for a living and making enough money to buy a beautiful house.Sometimes I would look in the crowd and think about what investments people would want to buy from me. I made up my mind to be a financial titan, get married, have kids, and raise up the next great athletes to play for Georgia. Sometimes Coach Durham would put me in the game which brought big cheers. I would have to stop thinking about the future and play the game for a short time.In a two-year career, I scored 8 points, and I scored on Senior Night which caused my teammates to carry me off the floor on their shoulders. I did my job that night, but I was ready to move on to my next job.
Well, I am not quite a financial titan after 25 years being a “stockbroker.” I am happily married to a beautiful woman, I do have a house, and I have two children that I love. My kids will not be the next great athletes to play for Georgia, but they do love the Georgia Bulldawgs. I am blessed to work with three great partners and many wonderful clients. I realize now that the last seat on the bench was not so bad after all. I learned a lot on the end of the bench, and it had nothing to do with basketball. To quote the famous poem “, I received nothing I wanted; I received everything I needed.” I am thankful to be where I am, and I am grateful for that seat. Every year my family and I go back to the Letterman’s reunion game. We always take the time to take a picture together on my seat on the bench. Because it is on that seat that I realized I wanted them and not basketball forever.