This I Believe

Skylar - Pleasant Hill, Iowa
Entered on February 1, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

The Power of Basketball

What do an old wooden floor and a cement playground have in common? What about smelly locker rooms and the opposite sides of the playground? A ref calling a game or a buddy? They all can be associated with basketball. I believe in basketball.

Basketball can teach people many things about life without them even knowing it. It personally has taught me about how to persevere and fight for what I want. It has taught me to work as a team and not as one. It has taught me to balance sports with school. It has taught me how to win and, yes, how to lose. It has even helped others to more extreme lengths by getting them off drugs or keeping them out of trouble.

As Tim Duncan put it, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.” I feel this sums up what I try to do on and off the court. On the court, I try as hard as I can and try to push others to make them better. This carries off the court, too. In school, I do the best I can in all my classes and always try to excel, and on Sunday mornings when we have to set up for church service, I do my best then too.

Basketball can be rewarding and also humbling. It can be rewarding in many ways. It gives people a chance to make many new friends and to get kids in shape, whether just for benefits or other sports. It also can be rewarding by learning to work as a team. Many times in life we will have to work as part of a team. But, that can also be humbling. As Scottie Pippen said, “Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.” On my team, I usually play point guard. And when I do, I do not take that many shots. There have been multiple times this season when I have taken one or no shots. This does not bother me though, because I know my role on my team. It actually gives me just as much satisfaction to set up a teammate than to make three pointers. It can also be humbling when to lose. It is way easier for me to reap the benefits when I win as opposed to when I lose. Even when I lose, I keep enough of a positive attitude to be a good sport about it. Losing can teach another lesson too. It has taught me to find the best in everything, whether it be that we played good defense and we need to work on ball handling, or that I broke my left arm, but I am right-handed.

And then there is a more extreme side. At our high school, we were going to have a kid that is originally from Rhode Island, come and play for us. That part did not work out. Well, he was in a residential foster care school and he was doing very well. His brother had been extremely good at sports and had gotten scholarships to some big time schools but turned them down because he was making a couple grand a week selling drugs. Then the police caught up to his brother and put him in jail, leaving him alone. He got through it by playing basketball, and it kept him from making the same mistake his brother made.

That has given me even more reason to like basketball. It just shows that it can help people in ways not even imaginable. It can also help people in the ones that are imaginable. So now when people ask me why I play basketball, I tell them I play because of the power of basketball.