I used to watch her from my kitchen window, she seemed so small as she muscled her way through the crowd of boys on the playground. The school was across the street from our home and I would often watch the kids as they played during recess. A sea of children, and yet to me, she stood out from them all.
I remember the first day I saw her playing basketball. I watched in wonder as she ran circles around the other kids. She managed to shoot jump shots just over their heads and into the net. The boys always tried to stop her but no one could.
I began to notice her at other times, basketball in hand, playing alone. She would practice dribbling and shooting over and over again, sometimes until dark. One day I asked her why she practiced so much. She looked directly in my eyes and without a moment of hesitation she said,"I want to go to college. The only way I can go is if I get a scholarship. I like basketball. I decided that if I were good enough, I would get a scholarship. I am going to play college basketball. I want to be the best. My Daddy told me if the dream is big enough, the facts don't count." Then she smiled and ran towards the court to recap the routine I had seen over and over again.
Well, I had to give it to her--- she was determined. I watched her through those junior high years and into high school. Every week, she led her varsity team to victory.
One day in her senior year, I saw her sitting in the grass, head cradled in her arms. I walked across the street and sat down in the cool grass beside her. Quietly I asked what was wrong. "Oh, nothing," came to a soft reply. "I'm just too short." The coach told her that at"5'5" she would probably never get to play for a top ranked team -- much less offered a scholarship -- so she should stop dreaming about college.
She was heartbroken and I felt my own throat tighten as I sensed her disappointment. I asked her if she had talked to her dad about it yet.She lifted her head from her hands and told me that her father said those coaches were wrong. They just didn't understand the power of a dream. He told her that if she really wanted to play for a good college, if she truly wanted a scholarship, that nothing could stop her except one thing -- her own attitude. He told her again," if the dream is big enough, the facts don't count."
The next year, as she and her team went to the Northern California Championship game, she was seen by a college recruiter. She was indeed offered a scholarship, a full ride, to a Division I, NCAA women's basketball team. She was going to get the college education that she had dreamed of and worked toward for all those years.
It's true: If the dream is big enough, the facts don't count.