"We are (clap clap), A.B.A. (clap clap) We are (clap clap), A.B.A. (clap clap). We are (clap clap), ABA ... DREAMS DO COME TRUE!" I had the privilege this summer of being invited to attend A.B.A. Basketball Camp in Massachusetts. For six days, this cheer was what you would call our fight song. When the camp had a dullness to it or if things weren't going well, we automatically huddled together (all 164 of us), and shouted out the cheer. Immediately, the camp would be in a frenzy, and the dullness heard not five minutes before would be overcome by the dribbling of a ball and the exuberant voices of the players. Why, do you ask, would one little chant excite every single player in the gym? It's last line says it all ... Dreams do come true!
Since it was my inaugural year, I had no idea what to expect. I unknowingly put it into the same category as any other basketball camp I had attended. This meant waking up early to go to stations that nobody cared about and participating in games in which players simply walked through the motions. But this camp was unique, and the players were special. You see, everyone who went to this camp, including me, went because they had dreams. Dreams of playing Division I basketball or dreams of receiving an academic scholarship to a school of their choice. Everyone was willing to sacrifice something important to make these dreams a reality. In my case, my dream is to receive a full scholarship to play basketball at a college of my choice. In order to succeed, I have to make a sacrifice. My sacrifice for the week was getting up at five to work out in the gym for two long, hard hours. If this sounds drastic to you, then how come there were twelve of us in the gym every morning? Because we all have dreams and we want them to come true.
The coaches and teachers at A.B.A. helped me realize how I was going to achieve my dreams. They warned me about the temptations - drugs and alcohol. They told me about crucial decisions I would make that would have a resounding effect on accomplishing my dream. What I admired most about them was that they never said that I wouldn't accomplish my dreams. Many times, people give reasons for failure: either you are too slow, too little, or too fat - something to prevent you from succeeding. You must prove to these people that you can achieve whatever you want as long as you work hard and don't forget your dreams. They encouraged me to work relentlessly at my dreams and to believe that they'll come true.
As I look back at A.B.A., I see how much it influenced my life. Since returning, I have continued to spend my days working as hard as I possibly could to achieve my dreams. All the hard work and dedication is starting to pay off. I have received letters from two Division I basketball programs. Almost all my decisions now are made while reflecting on my dreams. I'm willing to go out and do whatever it takes to accomplish these dreams.
I leave you now with something that one of my teammates, whom I the respect and view as a great friend, said to me: "There are three types of dreamers in this world: those who talk about their dreams, those who wonder how nice it would be to accomplish those dreams, and those who go out and work to achieve those dreams." I know what kind of dreamer I am. What type are you? Dreams do come true. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.