Same Situation, Different Mindset



I’m playing basketball. Jake is 6’5” and 248 lbs. He’s dribbling up the court at a fast speed. I can tell he’s going coast to coast for an easy lay in. I step into the lane and brace myself.

KA-BOOM!!! He nails me. Hard. I was ready for impact, therefore I didn’t move a whole lot.

Jake snapped! He immediately swung on me. His fist barely clipped the back of my head (kind of up off the side). It was obvious he tried to punch me. After he did it, he let his momentum carry him past me. He kept walking, with his back turned.

I ran up on him. As I passed him I jumped in the air and slapped him hard with an open hand. SMACK!!! Right across his cheek. Everyone heard it. It was on!

I braced myself in a two point fighting stance. My heart pounded in my chest. I was scared. This dude is big and athletic.

He stops. Looks at me. And says, “What the f*** is your problem?”

I look at him and say, “You just swung on me.”

He says, “Yeah, because you just tried to take me out.”

I can immediately see that he doesn’t want to fight. I’m thinking maybe he didn’t mean it. Maybe it was an impulsive natural reaction? But still, this fool just hit me upside the head. And I jumped-slapped him.

I say to him, “You asked my problem…I told you.”

The ball is back in his court. I just stare at him. A few moments of silence go by. Then he says, “I apologize man. I was wrong.”

WTF! This dude is throwing me for a loop. Meanwhile, about 30 guys are witnessing all this. Everyone expected to see a fight. Including me!

I accepted his apology and the game resumed. I stayed away from Jake unless I was the one approaching his backside. I didn’t quite trust him.

That incident happened back in 2002, right here at SCCC.


Look how redundant life is. In 2011, the same thing happened again. This time with Scott. I was boxing him out and we were banging bodies. All of a sudden, he swung on me, clipping the top of my head with his forearm.

At this point in my life, I made a commitment to myself and my family: NO MORE FIGHTING.

At this point in my life, I had already encountered several situations that provoked me to fight. Yet I was able to avoid violence. My new mindset was proven to be successful.

But now, here I am in a situation. Dude just hit me! He’s not charging at me or trying to hit me again. I have time to think. Do I fight this guy? Or do I turn this situation into an opportunity to grow and to take a step in the right direction?

I was up for the challenge of change. So after a few moments I said, “Are you alright?”

He looked at me, then said, “I can’t play this game.” He threw his hands up and walked to the bench. He sat down. The game continued.

After the game, we talked. Problem resolved. No violence.

Today I don’t even play basketball. It ranks among my “101 Ways To Get Your Ass Kicked In Prison” (see blog: Prison Violence).



Steven Jennings



  1. People bring a lot onto the court with them. Good job letting this dude know that you honored him as a man, and were concerned for him! Sounds like it made his day.


  2. It hasn’t been easy. But everytime I successfully deal with a situation, it gives me the strength and confidence to successfully deal
    with the next one. By now, I have prooven to myself that I can do it. No more excuses! No more compulsive thinking. From now on it’s all about love and understanding.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s