Basketball is more than just a game

To most people basketball is just a game–to me, it’s so much more.  My grandpa coached, my dad played, and now I play.  I grew up in the gym, surrounded by the bright lights and bleachers.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t play basketball.  There are pictures of me when I was just four years old at my grandpa’s basketball camps.  He taught me the fundamentals, just as he taught my dad.  I used to sit in the corner of the gym while he’d coach his team and practice dribbling, passing, and shooting.  When most girls my age were touching a basketball for the first time, I was beginning to shoot at a regulation basket.  I got a head start on the competition, and I refuse to give that up.To most people basketball is just a game–to me, it’s so much more.  My grandpa coached, my dad played, and now I play.  I grew up in the gym, surrounded by the bright lights and bleachers.  I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t play basketball.  There are pictures of me when I was just four years old at my grandpa’s basketball camps.  He taught me the fundamentals, just as he taught my dad.  I used to sit in the corner of the gym while he’d coach his team and practice dribbling, passing, and shooting.  When most girls my age were touching a basketball for the first time, I was beginning to shoot at a regulation basket.  I got a head start on the competition, and I refuse to give that up. Throughout my life I’ve always had three coaches.  Two of them have always been in the stands, in the driveway with me, and in the gym when nobody else was there.  I’ve always had my one actual coach, the one who coached the team as a whole.  My dad and grandpa have always been different, they’re my coaches.  They help me out after tough games, teach me new skills, and help turn my weaknesses into my strengths.  They’ve taught me the importance and value of hard work, a lesson that extends beyond the game of basketball. My dad taught me the importance of setting goals and working to achieve them.  His goal was to play college basketball, and he worked until he achieved that.  My goals at the beginning of high school were different.  My goals were to play varsity basketball as a freshman, to start as a sophomore, to score 1,000 points, and to play college basketball at the highest level I am able to.  I have achieved two of these goals, and the other two are in progress. I used to think my headstart was going to be enough, that changed in eighth grade.  Eighth grade was the year I re-evaluated myself.  I considered my goals and analyzed what steps would be necessary to achieve those goals.  As soon as the school basketball season ended, I would workout everyday after school for an hour and a half.  When summer started I would get up and spend the next hour running and lifting weights.  Around noon I would work on my shot for an hour and a half, and then in the evening I would work on dribbling, passing, and agility.  I worked hard through the entire offseason to prepare for the tryouts my freshman year.  I knew that I had to work in order to make varsity, and that hard work paid off.  I was one of two underclassmen that made varsity, and I was the only freshman.  Making varsity taught me a great lesson–persistent hard work will pay off. My goals will change over time, but how I handle them never will.  I set reachable goals, and I always work till I achieve them.  Basketball has taught me how to set goals and work hard.  I believe that without basketball I would not have the same work ethic I have now, and I would not have the same academic success.  Basketball has truly changed my life and will help me throughout my life, even once I hang up my jersey for the last time. One day, it is my hope that I can teach my children the life lessons that basketball has taught me. I would never force them to play a sport, however I hope they can find something they are truly passionate about and learn to set their own goals.  Setting goals is a valuable skill developed over time through practice and hard work.  It is often undervalued, but is crucial to success in any environment.