I love basketball. I’ve played for 13 years, and it’s about time we make it official. But when I think back on those years, there’s a void: a time I didn’t love the game. It drives me insane that I didn’t, but I didn’t know how I could as I sat there watching others enjoy my happiness. Then I came to college and remembered what kept me there: playing.
Now I think of my teammates, the younger girls following in my footsteps, and worry. I want them to love the game the entire time. I don’t want them to forget about the grainy texture of the leather ball, about the echoing bounces that sound like doors shutting behind you, and everything that brings them back to the hardwood daily. I want to teach them to remember.
TO THE KIDS SITTING ON THE BENCH:
There will come a moment when you realize it was never up to you. I don’t want that moment to come too late. You can’t waste your time. You can’t lose your love for the game.
I want you to enjoy it – hate it – move forward with it. I want you to celebrate emotions, not minutes. Agonize over attainable goals, not absent seconds. Stop trying to impress others. Start impressing yourself. I want you to grow sick of being controlled, and do something about it. Forget all the other voices, focus on your own.
I don’t want you to forget why you are here. I don’t want you to lose track of who you are.
Remember when you became addicted to the sport. When you found yourself itching to play, and you ignored all other responsibilities. You just wanted to see how fast you could dribble up the court, you just wanted to see yourself. I want you to shrug off insults, but take in criticism. Try for new abilities, not for forgettable time. Do it for yourself. Don’t make your reason for ball be somebody who doesn’t know you. You’re the only one who knows you.
I don’t want you to settle for what you’re told.
I want you to cry and fight and smile and laugh and use it all. Think about what you enjoy and why it is gone. Keep playing so you can laugh at anybody who tries to make you stop. Smile because you love the game. Frown only when you’re pushing yourself. I want you to be in charge.
About the Author (Author Profile)Cecilia – or Ceci, but never Sassy – is a managing editor for Culture Shock and a junior majoring in Comparative Literature and minoring in math. She's from El Paso, Texas, which ensures that she occasionally speaks in Spanglish and is always fascinated by precipitation. Ceci likes spoken word poetry, basketball, and bad knock-knock jokes. Follow Ceci on Twitter: @CCWeddell
Sites That Link to this Post
- Why Freshmen and Seniors are the Same | Culture Shock | May 4, 2012