What is your blueprint for life? Actually more important, who is the designer of that blue print? Born and raised in Miami FL, Aland Calixte has a blueprint that he follows. “Kobe Bryant once said that he was told by his coach, ‘You always have to have a blueprint. Because once a game starts to fall apart and you lose focus, you need something to fall back on to get back in your game.’ Well for me it’s always been God and that is why I have had the blessings that I have had. Other people may have other “reasons” that they give credit for their success, but who provides those “reasons”? God! So why not just give Him the credit!” This is the story of how Aland has found and followed the blueprint God has drawn for him.
Aland’s parents are from Haiti and raised him Catholic which is a very dominate religion in the island country. “My parents made sure that every Sunday we went to church, even if they didn’t have a vehicle they would get a ride from someone so that we would make it to church. I didn’t know any better and I didn’t know any worse… it just was what we did. My parents didn’t force it as a religion, but it just was a fact of life that we would go to church. And in my opinion it just worked out for the best. My parents were always optimistic. ‘Don’t get too high or too low, but you have to have a plan and it starts with God’ they’d say. Whenever I needed anything like money for a field trip, they didn’t always have it, but they’d say ‘I have to say no now, but we will try our best to make it happen, and only God knows.”
Aland didn’t grow up playing basketball. “When I was growing up I loved soccer and football. I played some soccer back home, but in high school I played football. At Hallandale high school in south Florida the basketball and football coaches didn’t see eye to eye with each other and both demanded that you choose only one sport, so I chose football. The good thing is that football and soccer helped me develop my hand-eye coordination and foot speed. This helped me when I decided to transition into basketball.” Even though Aland was playing football for the school, he was playing basketball every single day. “Yes I played football, but my real passion and focus when I wasn’t on the field was basketball. I would shoot until I made 300 to 400 shots per day. And as a result God didn’t open the college door for football, but for basketball.” The shots paid off. As a result of Aland’s God given ability he earned scholarships and has been able to pursue the education he desires. “I had the opportunity to go overseas with another player in 2008 and actually start receiving a paycheck playing basketball. I wanted to be a student athlete and that means ‘student’ first and ‘athlete’ second. Don’t abuse that word and switch it around or force it. I knew I had to be who I was supposed to be and do what God had blessed me to do. I really wanted to earn my degree. Everything will fall into place in time.”
The road hasn’t been easy or without temptation. “Honestly you grow up with the pure pressure and the popularity issues every single day. You go through the deals of growing up as a teenager and you may feel like you’re mature and look older but you still make mistakes. All moments in life come from some kind of source. Whether it’s good or bad it is all part of the process and you learn from both. I believe that the good comes from God and when I need logic or help I’ll open the Bible and read a few pages and it will get me out of a funk. I don’t even look at anything as bad anymore. Sometimes God puts us there because He wants to make sure we remember who is supposed to be in the driver’s seat! Right when we start to forget who is supposed to get the credit He’ll remind us who’s in control! To me it’s just part of the process and I learn. As long as I have God to believe in I am fine.” Sometimes God may use us to get people on the right track. “There is a guy I grew up with from my neighborhood that I know. We call him Melo. He kept getting into trouble and I would talk with him and continue to talk positive. One time I went to see him in jail and I told him that his life is worth more than this. He is worth more and will do better things! Well I like to think that something clicked. He got his GED and is now playing basketball in his second year in college! If I just gave up on him, or spoke negatively to him what good would that have done? Now he is doing what God has planned and it is a much better path.”
Aland has had a lot of opportunity to play with different people at different levels. This has given him the chance to witness what makes believers different from non-believers when trying to reach their goals. “When you don’t have the foundation and you are doing whatever your talent is or your passion is and you face challenges or start to doubt yourself; God will help you through! He will say, ‘Listen… I didn’t make you that way!’ God is who I fall back on, but I was raised that way. My parents helped me have that foundation. For them the one constant has always been God and as a kid I just listened and believed what they said and it has worked. I mean who are you going to believe? Do you believe some random person… or your parents who love you? Now, can you make it without God? I guess and for some reason non-believers can believe in luck or whatever and they may be successful. You can also drive a car on four donuts and still get where you want to go, but there is a better way to do it! I chose to follow my parent’s example and it has worked. For me it’s God!”
Aland is a senior now and has his blueprint open. “I hope to go to the NBA developmental league or possibly overseas. There will be challenges that may come from people that don’t have the same foundation as I do or chameleons that say they have your back until you turn it! There will be a lot of people shooting for the same goals I am and not all of them will have the same foundation I do. It will be a battle, but when you go into battle who better to have on your side than Him right?!?”
No matter where God’s blueprint takes Aland the foundation is already set. There may be winds that blow and storms that try to knock Aland off the foundation, but with God as his rock he will achieve great things. God bless you Aland and always keep God as your coach.