I play full court five-on-five basketball three times a week.  While I wouldn’t say I’m terrible compared to everybody in the general population at large, I am playing with some very good players. I am definitely in the bottom tier of this co-ed group, many of whom can dribble between their legs and hit three-pointers like they’re layups.

I did well today.  I had three steals, one that resulted in a point. (2 pointers are 1 point & 3 pointers are 2 in this group.)  That was today.

A few weeks ago, I was the worst player on the court.  I was getting scored on, stolen from, and making a mockery of basketball in general.  Let me tell you something that not many people think about.  It takes courage to be the worst player.

Most of the folks I play with are cool even when I’m not doing well, but every once in a while, there is someone who gets upset.  Why am I not better? Why don’t I get out there and stop that guy from shooting or driving? Why don’t I get the rebound?  It makes something fun well, not so much fun.  That’s when you have to really think about what you’re doing.

My goal is simple.  I want to stay healthy and lose weight, and I HATE working out.  Playing basketball is truly playing to me.  I love it.  I wake up early and excited to play. So I had to remove my ego and hurt feelings and realize that this is something I just picked back up.  I’m not going to be great out of the gate.  Also, my worth as a person has nothing to do with whether I can stop someone from scoring. So, I decided.  I’m going to go in every day with my head held high and do my best.

Like me, there are probably tens of thousands of you facing the same obstacle.  Somewhere, wherever you are, you’re the worst at ‘whatever’.  That’s okay.  Seriously.  Someone has to be the worst.  If you quit, you’ll just be passing the title on to another teammate anyway.

Also, by quitting you miss out on the opportunity for success.  Success is a surprise.  It comes at strange moments when you think you’ve nearly had it.  Today I felt successful.  Not the best.  I recognize my own limitations, but I was a productive member of the team, and I know it.  I also ran for two and a half hours and hardly even noticed I was working out. Double bonus.

If you’re on the fence.  If you really want to do the thing you’re not good even if you’re being razzed or facing obstacles, keep going.  The only difference between you and the other guy is practice.  If you quit, you’ll never know how close you were.

This is true in all areas of life.  My first book covers were terrible.  They were so amateurish, I cringe when they accidentally get shown on Goodreads or Amazon.  At the time when I released them, I was proud.  It’s all a matter of experience, which comes with practice.

It’s okay to be the worst player…just keep playing.


If you have Kindle Unlimited, my latest novel, Elemental Rage, is enrolled in the program. I’d love to have some borrows and reviews.  It’s about four sisters with elemental powers who are on the run.

A TIME TO KILL FINAL FINAL orange copy small




About jeanetteraleigh

Jeanette Raleigh is an artist and author who has spent most of her life at some creative pursuit. Whether painting a castle or writing a novel, Jeanette enjoys the playful aspects of creation and strives to make worlds where others feel at home. You can find her works of art and information about her fiction at
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