Most people have likely never heard of my college alma mater, a small Christian liberal arts school in Orange City, Iowa. But since Deb Remmerde went on the CBS Morning Show last Monday a lot more of the country knows about Northwestern College.

Deb is a sophomore All-American basketball player for the Lady Raiders. She got the sports world’s attention this season by accomplishing something no one has ever done in the history of competitive basketball at any level. From the NBA down to college, down to high school; men or women, boys or girls. Over a 23 game stretch, she made 133 straight free throws. 133 free throws without a miss.

The CBS Early Show thought it would be a good story to have her shoot free throws during their program to see how many she could make. They checked in periodically so their TV audience could watch her shoot. I remember thinking, “Wow. A national TV audience is a lot of pressure. I wonder how she will do?”

Silly thought.

At one point she drained 256 in a row.

256 free throws in a row without a miss is very impressive. But in practice she once made 485 in a row.

During the two hour broadcast, Deb attempted 585 free throws.

She made 580 of them.


For the record, I couldn’t achieve a percentage that high if the goal was to hit the floor by falling out of bed.

580 out of 585. Amazing.

Or is it?

Deb says she’s been playing organized basketball since the 4th grade. Over the years she’s worked very hard to become the best basketball player she can be. To ask her, she probably wouldn’t say 256 in a row is amazing. “I don’t think there’s a secret. It’s just kind of having a routine that works, and just having a lot of repetitions at it and just practicing.”

In her lifetime, Deb has shot tens of thousands of free throws. For her, hearing the swish of the net is the natural outcome of hard work and good form, repeated thousands and thousands of times.

It’s been said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Deb’s performance on Monday is proof of that.

Whether it’s presenting a winning sales proposal, preaching a thought provoking sermon, putting paint to canvas, delivering outstanding customer service, teaching a lesson that accomplishes it’s objectives, or repairing an engine to its full efficiency, we are successful when we have consistently prepared for our opportunity.

Making 256 free throws in a row isn’t luck. It’s the predictable outcome of years of preparation. In that light, on Monday the only difference for Deb was that she was doing her shooting in a gym on national television instead of in the barn on her family’s farm. When you’re consistently prepared, it doesn’t matter what floor the free throw line is on.

Wherever God has you this week, be excellent in your preparation.

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” – Proverbs 22:29

Todd A. Thompson – February 16, 2006

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