Katherine Daniel ~ Editor-in-Chief
Since my high school basketball coach’s wife has been posting pictures from memories of basketball, I thought I would do an opinion piece this week on basketball. You know, I never really thought I would ever play basketball in middle school, but one of the assistant coaches, Kristine, convinced me to play. I came to my first basketball practice in 7th grade, nervous as all get out, but it was actually really fun. Our head coach, Brian, always pushed us to do our best on the court and I can never thank him and Kristine enough for making me LOVE the game of basketball and pushing me to do my best. Knowing that the girls were in the top four of states this year, was amazing, but in this article, I am going to talk about what basketball has taught me more than any classroom could ever have.
- Commitment. Just like in the game of basketball, you have to fight for the ball (maybe even throw a little elbow when the ref is not looking), in life you have to fight to survive. Things are not always sunny with rainbows and happiness, but it is very important to never stop fighting. When things get tough, you have to get tougher and learn to keep going. You have to be committed from start to finish, even when you feel like not wanting to.
- You need a support system. Whether you are learning to dribble a ball down the court for the first time, doing a bunch of suicides, or needing the confidence for a big test, you need someone to cheer you on and make you confident. A big part of life is having people that support you and get you through the rough times and good times. Your teammates and cheerleaders cheer you on whether you are winning by 20 or losing by 20. They are just proud of you for doing your best.
- Responsibility. In the game, you are responsible to make sure nobody enters the paint and scores while you are playing defense. In life, you have to take responsibility of making sure nothing negative brings you down and overtake your thoughts when things get rough. You have to block it all out. For me, I was also responsible for making the game play to fast or two slow being a point guard. It was important for me to be responsible for making sure the team is ready to initiate the offense plays.
- The importance of friendship. Being a part of a basketball team has taught me so much about the importance of friendship. Over the years from 7th-12th grade, I made so many friends on the basketball team and became very close with people. If you are not close with one another, sometimes you do not play well with one another. Your teammates become your best friends and together you make an unbeatable team. As we grew older and people went off to college, including me, we always have a part of our heart still with the basketball team and care for each other, even if we are not close as we use to be. Basketball allowed to make so many friendships over the four years that I played, that I would not have necessarily made without playing basketball with the teammates I had at school and the opposing team.
- Pride. As soon as you or your teammates put their jerseys on, you feel a sense of pride for your team, your school, and hometown. When you put your jersey on, you no longer represent yourself, you represent the school.
- You win some games and lose some games. There are so many games that we won and some that we lost. Some that were very, very close wins and some that were loses. We made it to playoffs in conference and in state. Even though we won and lost some, we still had to continue to work hard and learn from our mistakes just as you do in life.
- Communication. Without communication in basketball, it is impossible to play. My teammates always would talk or make motions to let me know they were open. Playing basketball has taught me how to work well with other people and communicate effectively.
- Teamwork. Basketball is a game meant to be played by five people at a time and not just one on one. You have to rely on your teammates that they know the meaning of teamwork. Just like in your life, you need friends that work like a team because if not there will be a problem.
- Never give up. My coaches always said to never say “never” or “I can’t.” It is hard when things are not working out the way you want them to on the court and you feel like saying “I can’t pass it to her” or “I can’t move down the court” when in reality you can, but you just are not looking in the right direction. Like in life, you can never give up on a job or a task, even when things get tough.
- Your coaches love you like family, even when they are frustrated with you on the court. My coaches throughout my high school career, Kristine, Brian, and Hermie, all pushed me to do well in basketball. All of the drills, running suicides and sprints, yelling at me during practice and the games, free throws, and going through plays were all just to push me to be a better player on the court. Yes, sometimes I would get mad during the game when they would do this, but I understood why they were doing it. They love you like family and want to see you succeed on and off the court.
Basketball will always have a part of my heart, even if I am not playing. I am forever grateful to the game for bringing such a fun and loving group of people into my life. Ball is life and it is as simple as that.