I believe in comradery. The relationships I developed over years of playing basketball have proven to be more valuable to me than gold. A strong bond formed between my friends and I when we worked together. Clawing, biting and kicking, we found a way to win games and became brothers in the process. I first realized how much my team meant to me, when my Dad passed away from a rare form of kidney cancer in the beginning of my freshman year of high school.
I only had my father in my life for fourteen years, but I learned so much from him in that short time. He was one of those individuals who refused to let any obstacle obstruct his path. My father never let anything distract him from reaching his goals, despite the many hardships in his life. He was born in Israel and grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe. When he and my mother immigrated to the United States in 1986, they had multiple challenges to face; cramped housing, financial instability, and uncertainty that the next month would be any different. Relying on his mental toughness and self-confidence, he refused to allow any negative thoughts to derail him. He persevered until he achieved the success that he wanted for himself and our family.
After my father’s passing I was devastated, angry and confused. I was lost in self pity, unable to move forward. As a child, I had always dreamed that my dad would sit in the stands and watch me play basketball. His death guaranteed that this was not going to happen as he passed away the day before our first game. It had an effect on all of my future plans, and destroyed my belief that my dreams could be accomplished.
Needless to say, I couldn’t make it to our first game. But that night I received one of the greatest surprises of my life. I heard a loud knock on my front door. I walked down the narrow passage to my front door, expecting it to be another wave of mourning visitors. However, I was shocked to see my 14 teammates, still perspiring and in uniform from the game.
They wanted to bring me good news about our victory, but what really touched me that night was that learned how much my friends cared about me. They made me feel honored among them as if I was the glue the bound us all together. The experience reminded me of something that Albert Schweitzer once said, “Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.” I have been fortunate to have many friends in my life that took my light and helped me convert it into a flame.
Basketball not only trained my body but also the passion, perception and perseverance that come with comradery in team sports. I will always reminisce about the about the times I shared with my friends on those long bus rides, tough practices and the light they showed me to help me find my way in a dark time.
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