This I Believe

Matthew - lompoc, California
Entered on July 2, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: children, sports

This I Believe

I believe in the power of the heart of the youth is the purist and most honest love there is. Ever since I was about ten years old, I fell in love with the game of basketball. Unlike other kids, I started to play at a later age. I picked up the game fairly fast and began to excel. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was a starter on junior varsity and was the second leading scorer. When summer came around, I was moved up to varsity to start training for summer tournaments. Our first tournament was the Fresno State tournament, one of the biggest high school tournaments in California. On the last day of the tournament I dislocated my hip and had to sit out for the rest of the summer. Although I was in a lot of pain, I refused to go see a doctor. About four months later, I dislocated it again, but this time I couldn’t pop it back in. I went to go see a doctor and he showed me that I had about an inch tear in my left hip. He told me I shouldn’t play anymore for the risk of losing my leg. My love for the sport then brought me to coaching.

In the beginning of January the try-outs were held for the 5-6th grade Cabrillo Youth Basketball League. The try-outs lasted three days, and then there was the draft. I had coached the year before, but was still new to the draft and didn’t know much. Normally, a team selects seven players, but there was an excess of players so two teams took on eight, one being my team. It’s harder to play with eight because each kid had to play two uninterrupted quarters. Towards the beginning of the season I got food poisoning, so I was very limited on how much I interacted with my team. Although I was very sick, my team stood by my side, giving me get well cards and gifts.

Soon after, my brother had to go to the Santa Barbara hospital for his spinal surgery. By then, I was physically and emotionally drained. My team saw the sadness in their coach and pushed even harder when the play-offs came. We made it to the championship game on February 19, which was also my birthday. We were losing the whole game until the last two minutes, so I called a time-out. I drew up a play and it worked perfectly, we won by three points. I will never forget the words that came out of my team leader’s mouth, “We did this for you coach, happy birthday, and we hope you feel better.” The heart of the young is the most pure and honest love of all.