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© 2016 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Basketball and Joining the Team

By Allison Kooser

I am a huge March Madness fan. I love Davidson College basketball, so I'll be cheering for my Wildcats as they take on the Iowa Hawkeyes tonight. But even if basketball isn't your thing, I think there are valuable lessons to be learned from the NCAA Tournament.

Already we have seen major upsets this tournament. To me, these surprise victories remind me that anything is possible. And in my line of work at Opportunity International, I need all the reminders I can get that sometimes the underdog wins. Sometimes the expected outcome isn't so certain. Sometimes a team or individual can defy all expectations and succeed. It's true for UAB and GA State, and it's true for millions of clients who daily defy the odds, build businesses, work their way out of poverty and transform their communities. 

I constantly have to remind myself that these rockstar athletes are, in fact, kids. They are 19, 20, 21 years old - and they are basking in the national spotlight, finally living out their life-long dreams. We have a front-row seat to watch dreams come true. We get to watch the beautiful result of decades of hard work. It's a great reminder that true success takes time. Playing on the national stage doesn't just happen. Just like starting a business doesn't just happen. Entrepreneurship takes work and effort and dedication. It takes practice. For Opportunity International clients, successful entrepreneurial ventures are the result of lifetimes of hard work and saving and building skills and waiting for the opportunity to thrive. It is my joy to sit on the sidelines and watch their dreams come true. 

Most of all, I love college basketball because of the team. 

Of course, the team itself - the players, coaches and staff - is an incredible example of community. The Davidson Basketball players tattooed their motto on their arms: TCC. Trust, Commitment, Care. The parallels between a basketball team and a Trust Group are many. 

But what I really love about the team is that it extends far beyond the gym. If you speak to basketball fans, they will talk about "my team" or "our team". They, as spectators, are a part of the team as well. They are part of a community rallied around a common goal, hoping for a common result. Davidson is my team - just as much as it is Stephen Curry's team or Tyler Kalinoski's team or Bob McKillop's team. I am invested in the success of the team, and I want to do whatever I can to help them succeed. 

And this gets me thinking about Live Below the Line.

Because, you see, we are building a team. We are rallying together around a common goal. We are tackling something difficult and meaningful and exciting - together. And whether you are a challenge-taker (which you should be), a supporter or a cheerleader, you matter. We need you on our team. 

Spend five days eating and drinking on less than $1.50 a day with us in honor of the 1.2 billion people living below the extreme poverty line around the world. From April 27-May 1, be a part of the coolest team I know - the team of Opportunity International supporters Living Below the Line, educating their friends about extreme poverty and raising funds to support life-changing programs around the world. 

Now is the time - join our team today! 

Sign up now at https://www.livebelowtheline.com/us/partner/opportunity

And of course, GO CATS!  

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