Slaying the Giant

April 10, 2011
“Basketball is in my blood. It is my obligation to try.” The words of Hakeem Olajuwon could not have been truer as I made my way to onto the court for tryouts. My sneakers squeaked as I ran to grab a ball while my stomach churned. Watching the girls, few of whom I knew, swishing the orange sphere with a perfect flick of the wrist, was a little intimidating. I had never played basketball like this before, but I knew I had to try, and that was all anyone could ask for.

Challenges have followed me like a shadow since birth. Unlike my little brother, I have to work hard to get what I want, especially in school. Basketball is a work in progress, and I have a long way to go until I am on par with my teammates. Then it’s just the little things, overcoming the hatred I felt about my voice, my self-consciousness about my body, and my scars. Then my mind starts to wander, and I imagine what type of person I would be if this drive to be myself, to win, to prove people wrong, wasn’t in me. You would probably find me wallowing in self-pity, crying in my room. Goliaths have been placed in front of me and it is my job to slay them, although I would prefer a pen to a slingshot.

Having obstacles in my path only reassures me that my life will go somewhere. That I survived for a reason. My voice is unique, just like the rest of me, who cares what people say? My scars show that I am a fighter, and I can’t change my body so I should just embrace my curves as they are. Although living up to a grandmother’s legacy as an all-star basketball player is easier said than done. I will try, and if I should fail, I will try again. Obstacles will make me a better athlete, daughter, and person. “Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they're supposed to help you discover who you are.” (Bernice Johnson Reagon) I am determined to not let the things I cannot control hold me back, I’ll use them to my advantage. The ball is in my court now, and I attend to fight for it, dodge the defenders standing in my way, shoot and score.

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