When I was in the seventh grade, I tried out for the basketball team at my school in Racine, Wisconsin. I was an awkward, skinny kid, but I was also six-two, six inches taller than the other boys. And, my older brother Gary was a friend of the coach and Gary had been the star of his high school team. So I thought I had a shot. I was cut after the first practice.
The coach told Gary, “Your brother is the most uncoordinated kid I’ve seen in my life.” Gary repeated that description of me to our mom. She broadcast it to her bridge club. They all laughed. I was humiliated. I felt like a failure. Gary was a basketball hero. I wasn’t worthy of a seat on the bench. The “uncoordinated kid” label became stuck in my mind. It haunted me. When I finished college, I was desperate to leave the cold of Wisconsin for a different life in California.