Overcoming my biggest threat, myself | Teen Ink

Overcoming my biggest threat, myself

October 16, 2019
By Anonymous

It was my sophomore year when I was moved up to the varsity basketball team and I was excited as ever to be in the spotlight as a varsity player with everyone in the stands watching as I play the game I love the most. What I didn’t expect was the challenges throughout the season that I would face that would either make me or break me… It was game four of my first season on varsity basketball when I knew something had to change, it wasn’t normal or it didn’t even feel normal to me. It made me feel sick to my stomach like my stomach was going around in circles as if it was a washer. I found out a couple days before that coach wasn’t going to put me in with the starting group this game. That has never happened to me before I was always one of the starting players and it made me a little discouraged. When I asked him why he said I wasn’t putting in the effort, time, and skill level and knowledge playing on varsity wasn’t quite there with my teammates. He said my run was like a slow jog while everyone else was running as hard as they could. I took that as if it was a slap to the face. I didn’t know what my feelings were at the time, emotions cluttered my mind and I got lost in my head like it was a maze.

 I needed to take control of my emotions I did a self-evaluation of my actions and what I was going through. I began to list all the stressful or unfortunate things that's been happening since basketball season started like school with all the assignments, tests, homework or maybe even how basketball was taking up all my time and I didn't get to enjoy my other activities like hanging out with my friends or playing video games but then after a while it all just started sounding like lame excuses on why I wasn’t focused on my basketball or playing to my best potential. I knew I wanted to play to my best potential but I didn’t know how to get out of my funk. I thought to myself on how I got to this point, where I began to get lazy, not putting in effort or time and I couldn’t figure it out so I made myself a promise on this day forward I will work harder than anyone else in practice or even push my teammates to work harder. I wanted to show the coach how I treated my new position in practice by pushing the starting group and changing my attitude. I knew I wouldn't get my spot back overnight and I had to work for it. 

It was Thursday so that meant game day was tomorrow and it also meant something personal to me, the first game I wasn’t out on the floor to start the game. As they began announcing the line-up and as the fans cheered with excitement it became all too real. “And starting for the Pennfield panthers are …..” my name wasn’t called and there was a little part of me that was hoping they would just call my name, that never came and for the first time, I wasn’t starting. I took my place on the bench like the rest of my teammates that also wanted a starting spot, we were all competing and I was just knocked off. This was an eye-opener for me because I wasn’t in the spotlight like normal and I wasn’t used to it and I didn’t want to get use to it. As I sat there on the bench I was doing my part and cheering for the guys out on the court, wondering when I was gonna be put in to show him what I got. “Gavin go in,” my coach said. Here's my chance I told myself in my head! I took off my warm-up and jogged to the scores table to indicate that I was going in. As I was running my heart began to beat like someone was playing the drums. I needed to show coach I’m out of my funk and I came here to play. As the game went on it felt as if I was just out there to guard my man and I didn’t make a big impact on the team offensively or defensively. I was running and I was gassed. I wasn’t proving myself like I wanted to; this made me frustrated, annoyed and I wanted to give up, and for basketball that's like one of the worst things to do for yourself and the team. I was just hoping the coach didn’t notice. The clock ran down on time and I knew it was too late to show everyone what I got. It felt as if the game went by to fast and I needed it to slow down. 

It was after the game and I realized nothing changed from before the game, it was as if I was still in the funk even though I wanted to get out of it! That’s when I realized I can’t just say I want to get out of my funk, I knew I needed to take action to step up my game and earn my spot back at the varsity spot. I didn’t quite know how I was going to take action just quite yet I just knew I needed to make physical action. The weekend passed quickly and it was already time for next practice I took the initiative and went up to my coach and asked him, “What can I do to improve my game” he thought of an answer like he knew I was gonna come up and ask that question. He told me a bunch of ways to improve my game but one of those stood out to me and it was to get stronger to fit my position as a new big man.

I listened to coach when he said I needed to get stronger physically to fit my position down low with the big guys. I was being pushed around like a rag doll and I realized coach couldn’t count on me to box out and get rebounds or be strong with the ball and compete with the bigger guys on the floor. I had the height to be down low but I was lacking the strength. I began working out all sorts of muscles I didn't even know existed to get stronger so I couldn’t get pushed around down low easily. After hitting the gym you could easily tell I went from being a puny six-footer to a lean six-footer like it was nothing. I knew now I could stand my ground with the big buys and put up a fight but I couldn’t stop now and that it was only the beginning. I realized all this hard work was paying off a couple months later, it was the second game of districts and we were playing Hillsdale. We were absolutely killing them it was the 4th quarter and we were up by 20 when I was in at the time. I knew I wanted to get a couple more rebounds and points to make my stats go up and so I can push myself and that's when Hillsdale shot the ball and I went to box out the closest guy that was to me lucky enough the ball was headed my way off the miss shot Hillsdale big guy was fighting to work his way around me and get the ball but I stood my ground and got the ball. That's when I kicked it to one of my point guards and started rushing down the court to beat the opposing team down the floor on a fast break and my point guard was dribbling past defenders with his eyes down the floor he saw me wide open and launched it. My heart began to pound, I was wide open down the floor with everyone looking at me, eyes wide open. I caught the ball and began to dribble towards the hoop after 2 steps I took off and soared through the air and what I thought I was just gonna put up and layup but realized mid-air I was up high enough to dunk it, and that's what I did. I slammed the ball in the hoop and roars came from the crowd like the floor was shaking. I felt like I was on top of the world and everything I had worked so hard during the season had finally paid off. I ran down the floor fist-pumping my teammates and seeing all my friends go crazy and my parents with the biggest smile on their faces. At the end of the game everyone came up to congratulate me and it felt like I was the man!

As I look bad at the beginning of the season I would have never thought that I would have come this far to where I was at the end of the season. I was confident in my place, happy with the sport and it made me feel fulfilled. I knew I accomplished these emotions and memories through hard work and dedication and it made me realize that if you want something bad enough you have to work for it and It won’t just be giving or handed to you for free and I’m glad I worked for my accomplishment. 


The author's comments:

I learned a lesson through this story that changed how I acted back then and how I will act for the rest of my life


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