What Is Your Dream?


    My dream as a kid was to be the first white member of the Harlem Globetrotters, a basketball team made up of outstanding African-American players. To me they were one of the best teams in the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. Back then, some of the great players, such as Wilt Chamberlain, played with the Trotters before joining the NBA. Not only were they an extraordinary basketball team, they were entertaining and earned the title “Ambassadors of Goodwill,” taking up humanitarian causes such as supporting campaigns with World Vision, inspiring at-risk youth, and entertaining US troops overseas.

    Their basketball skills were second to none, and on top of that, they made people laugh. I loved how Meadowlark Lemon would always give his loud and humorous commentary on the game while playing on the court, and how they playfully harassed the referees and played tricks on the opposing team. Often they would bring a fan onto the court to be part of one of their pranks or would replace the game ball with a ball that had no air in it, or they would suddenly begin a game of “football” on the court. I loved them because they inspired me to think outside the box. As a kid, I imagined myself in their famous “Magic Circle” pregame routine, in which they set the tone for what was coming next—dribbling between their legs, no-look passes, and unexpected trick plays. They had a perfect blend of superior skills and fun.

    At home when no one was looking—well, even when someone was looking—I’d play my 45-rpm record of their theme song, “Sweet Georgia Brown,” while I dribbled a basketball around the house. In my mind, I was on the court with the Trotters and I was so amazing, they didn’t need Meadowlark or “Curly Neal” with me on the court.

    Of course, you have probably already guessed that my childhood dream didn’t come true. My aspirations of basketball fame are a distant memory. Like most children, I wished for something improbable. A lot of “first dreams” are like that.

    Many of us have those big dreams. We envision becoming rich and famous or winning the Powerball lottery. Some guys want to race in the Indianapolis 500 and win, while some girls dream of marrying Bradley Cooper. Although these dreams are fun to think about, the truth is that 99.9 percent of them will never be realized. (Sorry about that. Especially the Bradley Cooper thing.)

    My Globetrotter idea was one of those big, fanciful dreams that was great, but didn’t have a realistic shot of coming true. And like many childhood fantasies, it lasted only until another “big” idea dream came into my mind. But that’s the wonderful thing about these types of dreams—they have no boundaries. While most childhood dreams may be implausible, they teach us that dreams are wonderful goals to reach toward.

    I live in Los Angeles, a place many people move so they can pursue their big dreams. For more than thirty years, I’ve been a pastor at a church where many of those dreamers attend. A few years ago, I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard, known for the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where celebrities are given an actual “star” paying tribute to them and recognizing that they reached their dreams.  As I watched people pass by, I wondered what their dreams were.

    - Had their childhood fantasies been realized?

    - Did their lives resemble anything close to those dreams, or had they taken on new aspirations?

    Maneuvering the street among the tourists, the locals, the young, the old, the rich, and the homeless, it occurred to me that Hollywood isn’t the only place of dreams. No matter where I travel—New York, Nashville, or the rural areas of Africa—everyone I’ve encountered has a dream.

     Many people are inspired by their dreams, some pursue them with passion, and others find that those aspirations are harder to reach than they’d expected. But we all dream. The capacity for dreaming and pursuing those dreams is a gift God has given each of us.  Some people stop dreaming. They’ve tried and failed or have grown frustrated.

Is there a dream that you need to pursue again?


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