In North Carolina, college basketball is a religion and Dean Smith is one of our patron saints. Coach Smith gave the world one of the Ten Commandments of team sports, “pointing to the passer,” where players are required to point to the person who passed them the ball after scoring.
For the vast majority of people, life is a team sport. We have support structures like friend groups and church communities to help us get through tough times. But there really doesn’t seem to be any way for the average person to recognize those who have helped us on our journey. Novelists can point to their passers through book dedications, or in the acknowledgements section. Oscar winners can to namecheck mentors in a nationally-televised address. Self-made millionaires can hire PR flaks to tell their story.
Of course, I could just make a list of people who were there for us at crucial moments in my life, perhaps coupling each name with a short description of precisely how they enabled a particular accomplishment. But, as incredible as it is, even in this day and age, some people do favors out of the kindness of their hearts, not for any broader recognition.
I haven’t quite cracked this nut, but if you consider me to be one of your passers, I hope you will reach out and let me know.