This I Believe
I believe in the hard work, in the aching muscles, and in the sweat-drenched jerseys. I believe in the exciting moments, in the crucial situations, and in the clutch performances. I believe in basketball.
I believe in fast break basketball. It is when you’re racing down the court after forcing a turnover, when you see one or two defenders scurrying and trying to get back that you realize your advantage. You think of the hours upon hours that you spent on fast break drills in practice. You think about staying wide and of the angles that you’re taught to take. You think about finishing strong, and about capitalizing on the moment. You’re determined to finish at the rim, to finish hard, to anticipate contact and most of all to finish the play.
I believe in basketball practice. I believe in running until you think you can’t run anymore and then not stopping. It’s when you’re running sprints that you think about all the other less demanding sports you could possibly be playing. It’s when you’re running “suicides” that you realize how appropriate the name actually is. Basketball practice is the place where you think about all the water coolers and fountains the most. You passed up on chance after chance of drinking the free ice cold water the school provides during the day, but now that you’re in basketball practice it’s the only thing on your mind. But after all the running and all the three hours practices, and during a timeout when you’re in the game focused, barely fatigued, ready to finish the fourth quarter, and when you see your opponents hunched over in exhaustion across the sideline is when you realize that you believe in basketball practice.
I also believe in defense. I believe in not giving the player you’re guarding an opportunity to do anything productive. I believe in lockdown defense. Sometimes when your coach assigns you the number of the player you’re guarding and you realize that you’re not going to give him anything close to a chance at scoring is when you start to feel sorry for him. Maybe he’s the guy his team is looking to in the clutch, and the guy with all the pressure on his shoulders, and you’re the guy that’s going to mess it all up for him. I believe in taking pride in defense, in giving no scoring opportunities, and in contesting every shot because of course “defense wins games”.
Of all the aspects that I believe in about basketball, the thing I believe in most is competing. Competing is when you do everything within your power to win games. It’s when you take every second of playing time as an opportunity to out work your opponent. Through competitiveness is when you go for every rebound, dive for every loose ball, and how you acknowledge that every single possession is critical. Through competitiveness comes the drive for triumph, through competitiveness comes the desire to be a champion, and through competitiveness also comes fearlessness. Through fearlessness you will play any opponent, no matter how many advantages they have over, play hard, give everything you have, leave it all on the floor, be hesitant about nothing and play your best. It’s when you walk out onto the court, see that you’re opponents are bigger, stronger, and more athletic than you and then not care is when you realize that you believe in basketball.
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