The Power of Inspiration

Those of you who’ve followed my journey in youth basketball over the last 15+ years have heard me say this before: when I was young, I never imagined that I could have a life of basketball. That it would provide me with the opportunity to receive a free post-secondary education. Or the chance to play before millions on a televised March Madness tournament game. To play professionally. And to one day become the captain of our Canadian Men’s Senior National Team. Are you kidding me?

Vidal with Elton Rudduck
That’s me on the right back in my high school days. The guy shooting is Elton Rudduck — my best friend, and teammate at Eastern Commerce and St. Bonaventure.

I grew up in the North-West end of the city and had humble beginnings. I started playing pretty late compared to most kids these days. At the age of 14 I knew there was more to life than what I’d seen. I wanted to explore, and find my way.

Basketball became an early outlet. I discovered that I loved winning and hated to lose. And I discovered my identity: I was an underdog. I had to win, both in basketball, and in life.

But basketball was still just a game. Then in the 11th grade I opened the paper and saw that MY NEIGHBOUR had received an athletic scholarship to attend St. John’s University to play ball for the Red Storm.

It’s funny how something that happens to someone else can be a life-altering moment for you.

Vidal hits the floor hustling for a loose ball against UMass in 2001
Hitting the floor in a 2001 game vs UMass. It was far from my best game, but effort and intensity are always available if you’re ready to tap into them.

I learned that day that basketball can take you places. My horizons expanded. I didn’t yet know “where” I was going or “what” my plans were. But I was ALL IN!

I’ve thought a lot about that day over the years. How everything can change in a flash. Inspiration is powerful stuff. But can be hard to find. I wish we could manufacture it.

… Is that possible?