All Smiles

November 14, 2016

Basketball tryouts had been looming in my thoughts for months. My life practically revolves around the game, and as I stood before the double doorway of Wilson High School, I was quaking in my shoes. Not only was I trying to make the team, but I had never met any of the girls. Okay, you can do this. Three deep breaths and then you are opening those doors. One. Two. Pause. Three. Staying true to my promise, I tentatively pulled the door wide enough for me to enter the building.

I scanned my surroundings: gymnasium doors to my left, a check-in table right beside me, and thirteen other girls standing in front of me. Each had matching shoes that boasted the color of Wilson high school, a deep green accented with white. Their sweatshirts also matched, and, according to the bold letterings spread evenly on the front of the sweatshirts, they had all played the year before. I stared down at the scuff marks on my dirty shoes, then looked back at my future teammates. They all stood together talking with genuine smiles planted upon their faces. In an attempt to fit in, I plastered a fake grin across my cheeks and entered the circle in which they were all giggling. If people thought butterflies were bad, the stampede of elephants that ran around in my stomach were worse. Negative thoughts flew through my brain: What if they don’t like me? What if I’m not good enough? These were the judgements of myself I was making that kept me from duplicating those big smiles they wore. My dwelling on these thoughts was cut short by our coach telling us tryouts were starting.

The tryouts themselves were just fine and, nothing special happened. The girls seemed nice, but I could not help but wonder if they just felt sorry for me. I continued to point out all the things that I was lacking; she can shoot three pointers and you can’t. And I really wish I had the matching socks they were all wearing. But most of all I wanted to be happy, to have one of those humongous not-a-care-in-the-world smiles.

That night in my room, I began to cry. Why am I so sad, this was supposed to be fun! In my moment of emotional unstableness and irrationality I decided that I would quit the team. That’s it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Or so I thought.

Lo and behold, two days later I was staring down those same double doors and walking into practice. As it turns out, I didn’t quit the team after all. And I can’t express how happy I am that I didn’t.

On and off the court, my new friends/teammates were nice as could be; a genuine niceness, just like their smiles. A smile that I prided myself in saying I now wore too. The day our new and matching shoes arrived I just about cried with pure joy. I was part of a team who loved and cared about me. A team who would pick me up when I fell and who I could take cute pictures of our twinning shoes with.

I could have been this happy the whole time but no, I just had to compare myself to everyone and judge them before really knowing them. I learned that I am always good enough and that I define my own value.

Every single person is extraordinary and precious in their own way, even my teammates and I. Throughout the season I grew to love all of my team, including myself, and call them my sisters.

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