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From Nothing to Something: The Evolution of Andy
In the last couple of years, I have really been close to figuring out what kind of basketball player I am. Before junior high, I would never in my life think I would play basketball. I was never really interested in the sport when I was younger even though I was surrounded by friends who loved the game. Now, when I think of myself back then, I believe that I was never interested in the game because I wasn’t good at it. I couldn’t shoot the ball, dribble it, or even pass it. I never bothered to get better; I was just horrible compared to my friends. So I never even thought about it much. Then, junior high came.
During one of the weeks before Christmas break there was a basketball meeting for the Jr. High boys interested in playing ball for Coach Ley. The eighth graders at the time were going around telling all the junior high boys about it. I didn’t think about it much and I wasn’t even planning to go. When lunch came later that day, my friends were asking me if I was going to the meeting, and I said no several times. They tried to convince me to go, but I tried to tell them that I didn’t want to. After many attempts, they finally convinced me to attend the meeting and we went and got our paperwork. Coach said that practice will begin right after Christmas break.
What really changed my mind that day was that I was really thinking hard about if I wanted to fit in with my friends or not. They all played basketball, so if I joined I could have something to do with them. Also, I recall my sister and a few other people telling me that junior high is a time where you should try new things and see if you end up liking them, so I took that comment into consideration.
Over Christmas break, I got my paperwork signed and ordered some shoes. The day before school I was somewhat excited for practice, but also scared and nervous.
On the first day we came back from Christmas break, most of us seventh graders were excited for practice. We were all restless waiting for the day to end, but we weren’t excited that we had to practice in the small gym. It got really nerve-racking in sixth period when we knew we were just about an hour away from going to our first practice as junior high basketball players. After class we went back to our lockers to get ready. Practice was about to begin. I was shooting around at the gym, but at the same time I was watching other people shoot also and the only thing I was thinking about was to not mess up on any of the drills.
When we started practice off with the dribbling warm up, I did okay with my right hand at first as I ran up and down the court with the ball bouncing in front of me normally without losing it, but when we started dribbling with our left hand I lost the ball a couple times. I felt a little embarrassed as I was one of the few who lost the ball while the others dribbled without a mistake. Then we did the layup drill. This is where I really needed help because I couldn’t get the footwork correct when I went to the basket and when I tried to shoot the basketball, my shot would be off. I got real aggravated with this. I had problems with both my left and right handed layups. I would slow down when I dribbled to the basket just to get my footwork right. I gradually got better as the year went along as my shot was looking a lot better and my footwork when doing a layup became correct and almost automatic, but I was still not as close to the level my friends were at. My goal for the summer was to try to get better at basketball to the best of my ability.
Over the summer, I played basketball at the PCR every day. During the first few weeks of summer I attempted to join Mr. Wilson’s 25,000 Shot Club. This is a challenge where you try to shoot 25,000 shots over the summer. I only made it to about 3,300 before I quit. It was a very tedious task and my friend Michael had came back from a three month leave to California so I found it more fun to play games of one on one basketball with him, or two on two when our other friends, JR and Vincent, came back. I spent the rest of my summer playing basketball at the PCR every day with my friends Michael, Vincent, JR, and Kevin later on.
Now, I am in eighth grade. I play basketball nearly every chance I get. When the season started in January, I felt ready with nary a fear in my body. I have much better ball handling skills than last year, I’ve become a better shooter, and I can shoot layups better than some people I know. What I’m really proud of is that I started in the games we played against the Junior Varsity.
When I think about myself back then and now, I honestly believe that I’ve grown a lot as a player and as a person in the past year. As a player, I went from not knowing how to dribble the ball or how to make a layup to being a fairly decent mid-range shooter and a starter for the Jr. High team. As a person, I gained a lot of self-confidence in myself. I’m not afraid to join things or do things I normally wouldn’t do. I remember being a shy person for a lot of my life, but now I’ve almost overgrown that shyness and I think basketball helped me with that.
Basketball has become a big part of my life now. I have no regrets joining the game. The only regret I have was not joining basketball earlier in my life. I think basketball will always be an important part of my life now.