I believe in working hard for the things you love. High school girl’s basketball is a never-ending competition. Imagine a world where you best will never be good enough. Someone will always be waiting for a chance to show you up. These girls are your teammates and your enemies, particularly when tryouts come around. Even if you make the top team or starting spot, they are always working hard to replace you.
Here is a place where you don’t hard during school during practice; you work hard in your free time. I plugged in a television outside in my driveway, dribbling for hours on end so that it became habit to dribble while looking up; shot jump shots until it was too dark outside to see the basket; woke up at 5 a.m. to run; stayed late after practice to get more drills in; lifted weights to be a threat inside the lane; I challenged others to push me, to make me the best I could possibly be.
This life is non-stop. Everyday I go from school to basketball practice to my house, where I spend all my time doing homework if it’s too dark to go outside and play some more basketball. I repeat the process everyday minus weekends (which are spent playing in basketball tournaments or working on any weak areas of my game). Half the time I wonder why I do it. Why I go day after day, killing myself for a sport that won’t pay the bills when I’m older. The answer is simple: I love it.
I couldn’t imagine a life without basketball in it. Practicing is not fun most of the time but that’s the only way to get batter. When you’re running the 17th sprint and you feel like your lungs are on fire, or when you run the same play hundreds of times until it’s absolutely perfect, you know it’s worth it, even if you hate it. Everything is working towards making you better in some way.
The love I have for this game is impossible to describe but I feel it in every minute that I spend doing it. From the moment my hand touches the ball until I kick off my shoes; I know this is what I live for—every minute of everyday. This is why I believe in working hard for the things you love, things like basketball.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.