Don't hinge all your hopes on basketball

Tom,

Put that basketball down for a while and listen.

You’re not going to play in the NBA. Unfortunately genetics is always going to have you beaten. I’m not saying to give up. Keep playing. Sport will give you many opportunities and experiences that you otherwise wouldn’t get. I just don’t want you to hinge all your hopes on it.

In the near future you’ll go to university in the hopes of becoming a teacher. You’ll graduate and teach for a while but unfortunately the only thing you’ll take away from that is a learned capacity for patience and tolerance. It’s just not the job for you. However, it will help you in later life, in a career that you will enjoy.

You will become a police officer, and volunteer to work in the hardest parts of Sydney for over a decade. You will see some of the funniest things in the world, and some of the worst. You will meet some great people and share in a sense of friendship that not many people get to feel. These people will become your extended family. Unfortunately, because of the career that you will choose, you will also lose a few of this extended family, some to accidents, some to much worse. 

Eventually you will transfer to Yass. There you will meet more of your extended family, and also learn that not all people that you deal with at work are bad. Some are good people that have simply made mistakes. Make it your business to look after this community. 

In saying that, in December of 2012, you’ll be asked to write a letter to your 16-year-old self. Don’t miss the opportunity to remind everyone not to drink and drive these holidays. Remind everyone that the best present they can give anyone during these holidays is their presence.

Tom Lawless

PS

Make sure you travel. Although maybe skip Rome, as some bloke will sell you a velvet jacket for $50 that smells like cat wee. Make sure you go on that trip to Alaska, it’s something you will not forget.

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