I Believe in Practice

Kaleigh - Hooksett, New Hampshire
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I was always told that practice makes perfection. My dad took me to a UCONN basketball game when I was 10, and I watched in awe because the girls were so talented. At the time, my dad coached my 3rd grade team, and I told him I wanted to be “good like the UCONN players.” His immediate reaction was, “If you want to be good at something, you have to practice.”

I remember spending hours during the summer outside dribbling in my driveway. I wanted to work hard, and I wanted to be good. Little did I know at the time that much of my motivation to practice came from my dad, as my toughest critic and my biggest inspiration.

The high school games I watched in 8th grade were a wake up call to me. I knew I needed to devote more time then I previously had practicing in order to play at Trinity. I worked hard over the summer, and my dad even complimented me on my hard work, which was rare. My dad’s comment gave me all the confidence I needed, and I knew that my practice had paid off when he congratulated me.

One practice during my junior season, my coach asked a question that has stuck with me for a long time. “Why do you play?” My answer was because of my dad. My coach never asked us to answer, but I thought about his question that night and many times after that. I realized that I practice because of my dad, I am motivated to play because of him, and I will do whatever it takes to achieve because it makes him proud.

From summers before when my dad told me I had gotten better from practicing, I never realized why I was actually playing basketball. But now I go into every game and my first action is looking into the stand to find where my dad is sitting. He is always there, and now I know why I play.

I don’t start for the girl’s varsity team, and I don’t even get a lot of playing time, but somehow I know my dad doesn’t care. I know that he is proud of all that I accomplished; and to him, practicing is more important.

I recently started my AAU basketball team and continue to practice almost every day. I will continue to spend hours every day in my driveway playing basketball because I want to make my dad proud.

For me, practice isn’t just a way to make myself better; I know that my countless hours spent are all worth it when my dad congratulates me. I take a lot of pride in what my dad tells me. He is always truthful no matter what the situation and always gives the best advice.

I dedicate all my time spent practicing to my dad because to me, there is no greater feeling then when he says, “good job.” This I Believe.