Michael - Houston, Texas
Entered on December 9, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: sports

I grew up watching the Rockets with my family. Almost every night when I was four years old, we sat in the living room and watched the Rockets play. I was only four so I did not know every rule, but I knew the point was to score. And the Rockets were good at that. My favorite players were Charles Barkley and Steve Francis. I watched them every night with my jaw dropped, wondering how they could touch that big orange circle which I later learned was called the rim. It was the Rockets that got me interested in basketball. My brother showed me the basics and I took it from there. As I got older, I started playing basketball more and more. I got better and better until I started playing on my school’s elementary team. The team was not great, but neither was I, so I fit right in. When I reached middle school, I had to start trying out to play. I did not make the team until eighth grade, which made me realize my dream career, professional basketball player, was one of my dumbest ideas. I no longer play on a team, but for fun.

When I am stressed or upset, I put on my black Nike’s that have long lost their “new shoe “ smell and gained a new, questionable odor, grab my iPod, and go outside. The world vanishes and I’m alone in my own basketball world. I shoot lay-ups, three pointers, and I even try to dunk (which I have yet to accomplish). I play for almost an hour, which is usually when I accidently lob the ball over the fence. This means I’m done until tomorrow.

I believe that everyone should have an activity that relieves stress or helps them feel better when they’re upset. It doesn’t have to be a sport or something physical, but something that brings them joy. Basketball has not only brought me hours of entertainment, but also taught me important life lessons. One of the most important lessons was perseverance. When I was in middle school, I tried out for the basketball team in sixth and seventh grade. Both times, I didn’t make the team, even though, in my mind, I was going pro out of middle school. Both times, I tried again and finally made varsity in eighth grade.

I’m no Charles Barkley or Steve Francis, I ca not drain a three on every shot, and I definitely can not dunk over Shaq, but I can enjoy my favorite sport and relieve stress at the same time. Let’s see Steve Francis do that.