I believe in Basketball.
Squeaky shoes and heavy breathing fill the air to reveal athletes moving dissimilarly yet concurrently like the ocean waves. Swelling at different frequencies but still rushing to the same place, working for the same goal.
My first memories of Basketball involve the indulgence of my brother hustling up and down the court, scoring three-point shots every ball procession. Continually out there saving his team from defeat.
Then basketball became my lifeline. The painted, wooden playing field soon developed into my sanctuary. I could walk onto the gymnasium floor like my teammates and I had a severe case of retrograde amnesia, forgetting the junk of this world and just being able to pound out our anxieties and shoot through our current affairs. We learned the importance of playing ‘as a team’ and following the coach’s orders, like a herd of lions obeying their ringmaster. In games, we performed as if the circus were closing the next day, relentlessly and dynamically, but still playing in harmony, knowing we had nothing without it.
The breaking of a ligament in my knee put an adverse cessation in my competitive basketball-playing career. At first, it was dramatic and depressing, having to sit on the sidelines and watch my very best friends play the game we all love. But soon I realized I needed to move on. Life needed to take off. Soon basketball became a distant memory. My former teammates and I would brag of the old victories and fun times. I never thought it would become such a passion ever again.
Now I conceal myself from behind the water cooler and scoreboard. I memorize every movement of each drill. I recognize the grunts of ‘Shot’ and ‘Ball, ball’ as I watch the college men focus and conquer their obstacles. It transports me to where there is no yesterday or tomorrow, only now. Every second on the edge of my chair. Every moment grasping my head in my hands. I am like a child, in awe, after watching the Day-After-Thanksgiving Parade.
Returning to the court was never my intention and most days it still isn’t. But my heart is still on the court with every ball bounce, play performed, and shot scored. These boys have no idea how much their talents and personalities mean to me. I am a part of a team again. It has given me a purpose. A sense of belonging, of being wanted somewhere in this new ambience known as college. Like a butterfly in my cocoon waiting out the in-between stage, I allow it to insulate me while I am fitted for the life yet to come. This game acts as my cocoon, making me beautiful and getting me ready to fly into the big world.
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