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What My Dad Taught Me About Basketball & Real Estate

Thanks for the photo, Dale.

My Dad is smart

I’ve talked about my Dad’s honesty before, but my Dad is also a very smart guy.  He won’t tell you that.  He’ll tell you that he was barely an average student through high school and college, and that he goofed-off a lot more than he should have.  Since I know he won’t tell you,  I’m going to tell you that my Dad is a smart guy, and I’m going to share with you one of the best pieces of advice he ever gave me. . .

My Dad, the coach

My dad was a High School basketball coach for many years.  Some of my fondest memories as a young kid involve empty gyms and long bus rides.  Now we’re both REALTORS.  Go figure.

My Dad was a good coach, and always found a way to get the most out of his players.  His teams achieved what others thought they never could.

After we moved to Virginia, my Dad stopped coaching basketball, but he never stopped being a coach.  I, on the other hand, began to play basketball in high school.  My Dad was not the type to be overbearing or get in the way of what my coach was teaching, but he was also never afraid to make sure I was heading in the right direction.

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I can remember one day in particular, it was one of the first weekends during the basketball season.  I was sitting at home, relaxing, watching TV, as teenagers are prone to do.  My dad came to me and said, “What are you doing?”

“Nothing.”  (typical teenage answer)

“How come you aren’t down at the basketball courts?” (my neighborhood has courts that are just a short bike ride away)

“I don’t know.  I’m tired.”  (typical teenage logic)

In response, my Dad gave me words of advice that stick with me to this very day–

“You know what?  Somewhere, there is a kid right now shooting baskets, dribbling, practicing on his own, while you are sitting here watching TV, doing nothing.  When you meet that kid, he’s gonna kick your butt.”

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Dad was right

I was not the most athletically talented player on my high school basketball team.  I knew that.  What I learned from my Dad was that, if I wanted to be able to compete and succeed, I was going to have to work harder than the other kids.  I was going to have to be that kid shooting baskets on the weekends, not the kid on the couch.

It worked out for me.  I believe I am the only player in the history of Fluvanna County High School that was in the starting lineup for all but 3 games of my career, and NEVER scored double-digit points.  The closest I ever got was 9 points– twice.  I was a captain for two years, and I even made the all-district team.

My old high school coach is still the coach, and now that I officiate, we see each other from time to time.  I asked him once, why he started me, why I played as much as I did, even though he had to know I wasn’t as good as the other kids.  He told me, “No one worked as hard as you did.  No one learned as much as you did.  I needed someone out there who knew what he was doing, wouldn’t make mistakes, and could lead the other kids.”

It was quite a compliment.  I owe it all to my Dad.

My Dad’s lesson for you

Being a real estate professional is getting awfully tough for a lot of people right now.  There are a lot of people out there who are scrambling, don’t know what to do, paralyzed by fear.

Don’t be that person.

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Don’t get so discouraged that you forget to act.  On the flip side, if you are doing well, don’t get so confident that you become complacent, and think action is unnecessary.

There are two groups of agents out there:

1)  Those agents either sitting on their couches worrying about what will happen next and too scared to act, or those wasting time gloating and counting commission checks, thinking it will never change.

2)  Those agents out there working on business plans, executing new marketing strategies, and prospecting for new business because they are committed to their clients and to the profession.

I know which one my Dad would choose, and I know which one I’m choosing.

Which group will you choose?

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Written By

I'm a REALTOR, basketball referee, happy husband, and Community Manager (in no particular order). I have a passion for the real estate industry and officiating, a passion that I try to turn into inspiration on my blog, The Real Estate Zebra. I am also the Community Manager at Inman News. When I'm not blogging here on AG or the Zebra, you can usually find me on Twitter.



  1. Nicole Boynton

    October 21, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Daniel –
    What a great story and even better message! I am worried and wondering when the next commission will come but I am not sitting around, paralyzed with fear. I am overhauling my marketing both online and off and continuing to go out and meet people and follow up with them. Thanks for the reminder that we must get off the couch!!

  2. Sam Basel

    October 21, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for the pep-talk, coach! I choose #2.

    I appreciate the personal story and how you tied it into the active agents out there hustling vs in-active agents sitting around wondering why the phone won’t ring and complaining about it.

    Time to get hustling…

  3. Ginger Wilcox

    October 21, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Great analogy. I have noticed that the office is practically empty, and people aren’t touring. You are absolutely right, if you sit on the couch now instead of marketing and prospecting, your well won’t just be dry now, it will be dry next year too.

  4. Claude Labbe

    October 21, 2008 at 7:35 pm


    Awesome story. And you know, our clients pick up on the difference as well.

    As I’ve heard before “the harder I work, the luckier I get”.


  5. Missy Caulk

    October 21, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Daniel, we learn so much from our parents and our children learn from us. My husband coached all my boys in football and basketball. They to this day have such wonderful relationships. Like father like son is so true.

  6. Ray Carman

    October 22, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Brilliant! Best Real Estate Post I have ever read! Loved it! Go “shoot some baskets!”

  7. Dale Chumbley

    October 23, 2008 at 3:34 am

    Perfect analogy and great testament to your dad. I always love when you use your basketball tales. I really appreciate you & your care for our industry. You were one of the first RE bloggers I “discovered” and continue to enjoy your posts & learn from you.

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