Work the Good Shot

Welcome back to the Creative Life Adventure.

I’m not a big sports fan, but I do love the 1986 movie “Hoosiers.” On the surface, it’s about a high school basketball team and a coach with a troubled past. Of course, like all good films, it’s about interesting characters, their relationships, and the choices they make. One of my favorite scenes in “Hoosiers” is easy to overlook. In this clip from the film, at about the 1:18 point, you can hear the coach advise his team to make “a minimum of four passes before you take a shot.” Later, he says, “Work the good shot.” In other words, instead of rushing, the players should take the time they need to position themselves for an ideal shot.

I took the photograph below in New York City in 2005. I love the texture created by the various signs and architectural forms. But I should have watched the composition more closely – the empty space at the top adds nothing, but the sidewalk is awkwardly cut off at the bottom of the image. I rushed and didn’t work the good shot.

Black and white photograph of New York City street sceneSometimes, in photography and in life, we have to make a quick decision. Sometimes we face deadlines in creative work. Many times, though, we can take our time and put ourselves in an optimal position. Figuring out which situation is which is one challenge. Exercising the necessary patience is a second challenge. When we can take our time, the best thing to do is set up the good shot, and keep our own counsel about when our work is complete.

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