This I Believe

Brian - 73072, Oklahoma
Entered on February 7, 2008

My name is Brian C–, and I believe in the positive effect that organized sports such as basketball have on children.

I cannot remember the first time I picked up a basketball, but one thing I am sure of is that it was a pretty special moment in my life. People are born with specific talents and specialties, and one of mine was basketball. I had a love for the game, a burning passion to play and be a part of it. For many, many years, I ate, slept, and drank basketball. I could not get enough of it. I remember the endless hours I would shoot hoops outside by myself, I remember watching the NBA every weekend during basketball season, and I remember not being able to wait for my father to come home so we could play together.

When reflecting upon the few years of my life that have seemingly flown by, many of my best memories consist of basketball in some way. It has influenced my life in ways I never realized at the time. I met so many great friends during my time on the courts, some of which I am still friends to this very day.

I kept playing basketball competitively from grade school, to middle school, and on to high school. Playing taught me many life lessons that I can fall back upon to help me through my sometime tumultuous time in college and life. It taught me not to be lazy, if you want something, you have to earn it. No one is going to give you anything. If an achievement is reached easily, it is probably not worth achieving in the first place. It taught me how to be a part of a team, something that every kid should learn at a young age. Basketball also taught me to take care of myself, mentally and physically.

In 2003, my sophomore year of high school, I ended my basketball “career.” Not because I was not talented enough to make the team, and definitely not because I did not love the game. I still love the game to this day. It was because it was not the same to me. My father had died three years earlier of a heart attack, and even though I kept playing for those three long years, it just did not feel right without him. He was there every step of the way for me, and that commitment has instilled values in me that are priceless. When I become a father, I hope that I can give my children the same sense of commitment and love that my father gave to me.

It was the mental preparations from all those years of hard work that allowed me to walk away so easily from the game that I loved. Without the game of basketball, my life very easily could have gone down the wrong path.