The more I think about it, the more I’m able to draw a strong connection between my basketball game, and the way I play basketball.
I’m not really all that good at basketball. Back when I was in elementary school, I remember being over at my friends’ houses and they would want to shoot around, but I always just wanted to play Mario Kart. I never had the discipline to practice. Things of course are much different now. While I still don’t see myself as the most disciplined or patient of people, I’m not able to at least focus and concentrate one something long enough to make it worthwhile. Especially in the past couple of years there has been significant tangible improvement in my academics and physical health; I can only hope that the same goes for my character.
So I reiterate, I’m not that good at basketball. I’ve gotten much better since I finally decided to take it seriously about a year and a half ago. It used to be just playing with friends, but now I’ve gotten confident enough to at least play pick-up games with people at the gym. “Hey, you guys need one?”
I’ve definitely improved, but I’m still not that great. Any person that seriously plays basketball will be able to take one look at me and recognize that I am indeed, a noob. I’m not terrible though. I shoot around by myself, and through lots of practice and advice from others, I’ve managed to come up with a decent shot. I used to have the most awful ball handling, but now I can at least dribble through my legs a bit. When I shoot by myself, and I’m feeling on fire, I can get over 50% of my shots in. The big problem comes when I’m playing an actual game.
I’ve managed to get myself to be somewhat useful in a game. Yesterday, I averaged one shot per game. Other days, I can do much better, but those are in games where I can usually go for a fast break and get down the court before anyone else does. I can make those layups. Honestly, I can make shots too, but once again, the problem is when other people are involved. “I can only play well when you’re not looking!” or “I’m only good when no one is blocking me!”
After a good amount of observation, I’ve come to the conclusion that the game of basketball comes down to one main objective. Get the ball into the basket more times than the other team. Duh, right? But the other thing that I’ve realized, maybe a bit late, is that everything else about the game revolves around that one main goal; GET THE BALL INTO THE BASKETBALL. Practice shooting, so you can get the ball into the basket. Practice your handling so you can take the ball, and get close enough to the basket, so you can lay it up. But both of those don’t include other players into the equation. The next layer that I’m only beginning to discover now is that in order to properly shoot the ball or handle, you have to create separation.
I tend to be on the bigger end of the human scale. Not that I’m like fat or anything, but I’m taller, and more built than a lot of other guys. That being said, I should be able to grab every rebound and not get knocked around. But somehow I still get pushed around by people half my size.
My biggest problem though, is that while everything is all good when I’m not in the game, as soon as the game starts and the ball is in my possession, I panic. I feel like as soon as the ball is in my hands, everything goes into hyper –speed. Then, I’ll end up either taking a hasty shot or trying to drive it in and getting blocked. REAL HARD. So I pretty much suck on offense… but whatever I can’t accomplish on offense, I try to make up for in defense. I try and run as hard as I can, stick on my players as hard as I can, and really put in all of my effort.
I’m really grateful for the guys I play ball with. Most guys at the gym are pretty helpful. They might tease me about the way I play, but they never fail to also give me tips on how I can do better. The one tip that I hear the most often is probably, “take your time.” The other would be, “don’t be so scared.”
There is one person in particular that I was watching play the other day at Drexel. As I watched him play, I could not help thinking to myself, “wow. That’s swag.” As I watched him play, during the entire game, he was so composed and never changed his expression. He would have the ball, and when he had it, he would take his sweet time, create that separation between him and his defender, look at the basket, jump, and take the shot. I didn’t see him miss a single shot that game. #SWAG.
As previously mentioned, the way I play basketball and handle relationships are way too familiar. First off, anyone that has never been in a relationship must think that I must have so much experience and know so much about dating, while anyone that is already married probably looks at me like I’m a noob. While I may have been dating for some time, it is only recently that I started to really take a serious look at things.
I panic. A lot of times, I completely lose control of the situation. Even in basketball, I would do something, and immediately after hyper-speed ends, I would mutter to myself, because I knew what I should have done. I should have slowed down, taken my time, my form could have been better, all these thoughts. The same goes for when relationships happen. Just like the hasty shot I take when I play basketball, a lot of times, I’ll be making hasty moves with my lady friend.
The truth is, just like in basketball, I’m really insecure. I thought it through with one of my friends, and came to the conclusion that the reason I don’t play “big” when I play basketball, is because I used to play with one guy in particular who used to call foul on everything I did when I played with him. While I didn’t know better, I decided that I needed to step back and not touch the guy. However, my friend ended up telling me that that person was actually overly sensitive and called things way too often. But that one bad experience was enough to cripple me, even until now. Be in one bad relationship, and you could be crippled for life.
It’s not like I can’t play basketball, or I’ll never be good. But if I really want to be good, I need to be confident. I can make shots. I just need to do it in the game now. I need to be ready to tackle it, rather than act surprised when it comes.
Unlike basketball, relationships don’t have one clear cut answer. You’ll have a million different people, telling you to do a million different things, and every relationship is different. But I can’t let one bad relationship, or one bad piece of advice cripple me so that I keep getting pushed around. I need to find my ground, be confident that what I’m doing is right, and play big, putting everything that I’ve practiced into play. Don’t be hasty, but sit back, take my time, and just like that guy I was watching play: #SWAG.
Whenever incidents like this happen, I can’t help but always think to myself, “why?”
I mean, I’m sure many people ask why. Why would someone kill innocent people? But for me, I always wonder out of curiosity. Really, why?
Was there a girl? Had you faced some kind of horrific injustice in your life? Were you bullied? Did you really have nothing left to live for? What made you snap? What did you want?
Am I really so different from you?
There are days when I keep imagining what other people would say.
You’re not the good guy you pretend to be.
At any given moment, a dozen people could walk in from my past and tell you about me: and you’d walk out of the room after vomiting your guts out.
These people don’t know how sick you really are.
It’s a loop, over and over, like a madman stabbing slowly.
What’s the point? You can’t make up for what you’ve done.
I get into a mental chokehold, not allowing myself any joy for too long: because I feel that’s a righteous punishment.
I know who you really are. I know what you’re about. You’re not fooling anyone.
It’s a constant, tortured paralysis, and I wish I could tell you that I’m above it. But I’m not. It’s exhausting, to outrun myself in a race I can’t win.
Are we all doomed to our former selves, time-stamped to who we used to be?
It makes perfect sense now. I can see the extra puzzle pieces and how they fit. I’m glad that the sisters’ ministry at Drexel and GCC is working so powerfully.