Any sport played at any age is a huge part of your life. It teaches a lot about yourself and life. For me, it was basketball. I played basketball my whole life, and it is an experience that I would not trade for the world. Like everything you have your up and downs, but through the good and bad times, it was something that gave me some great stories and life lessons. Nothing teaches you more than playing a high-intensity sport surrounded by your best friends. So, here are some things that I learned while I played basketball.

1. Hard work.

Like most things hard work is the most important aspect. If you don't give it your all, don't do it at all. Whether you give it that extra push in practice or going after a loose ball, it will make you that much better. The work ethic that basketball gives you follows you throughout your whole life. If you are a hard worker on the court, you will be a hard worker off the court.

2. Teamwork.

Basketball shows you how to work well with others. Being in a team sport, you can't rely only on yourself. You have to trust others and pick them up when they are down and vice versa. If you can work well in a team, you can work well with coworkers and relationships in general.

3. Never give up.

As cliche as this sounds, it is true. You can never give up on the game or yourself. It doesn't matter if you are losing by one point or twenty, you can't give up. You can never give up on yourself either. Being 5'1, it was never easy for me. I could have given up when the odds were against me. Giving up was never an option and it never will be.

4. There are people that care for you.

There are teammates, coaches and family always rooting for you. There will also be people in your life who try to knock you down. Trust the people who will be there for you and cheer you on through the good and the bad.

5. Memories.

Cherish them. Cherish the memories and the time you have while playing. One day your body won't let you play anymore or one day you won't be able to play the game that you love. Treasure the friendships that you have and the memories you make with them. They are experiences that you will have for the rest of your life.

6. Size doesn't matter.

Like I said before, I am 5'1 and playing basketball wasn't easy for me. I was playing girls twice even triple my size. I never let it stopped me. Yes, it was limiting at times and what I would give for a few more inches. However, your size should never stop you. With that being said your gender, your experience, your size should never restrain you. Go after for what you love.

7. Leadership.

When I was little, I was a quiet and shy person. Playing basketball gave me more confidence. In no time, I was elbowing the boys and wrestling for the ball. I found my voice on the court which gave me a voice off the court. I got the honor to be team captain all four years in High School and it gave me a leadership role that I will never forget.

8. "Short term memory."

A short term memory means that if you make a mistake, move on to the next play and don't dwell on the past. This helped me not only in basketball but day to day life. It taught me not to worry so much about the past, but to focus on the future to improve myself and my game.

9. Communication.

If you don't have communication during the game, the team will fall apart. It teaches you, again, how to work well with others. It helps with relationships outside of basketball as well.

10. Having a passion is important.

Having something you love and something you care about makes your life so much better. If there is something that you are passionate about or interested in, do it. It helps cope with the stress of day to day life. Find that passion whether it is a sport, a hobby, a job. Having something so important is healthy and rewarding.

11. Competition is healthy.

A little competition never hurt anybody.

12. Commitment.

You spend endless hours at the gym. You get bruises, jammed fingers, sprained ankles, torn, ACL injuries, you name it we got it. Players dedicate their life to the game. It is a commitment whether you play four years or forty years. You give that game your heart and soul. Commitment is such a valuable thing to learn.

13. More than just a game.

Obviously, the game teaches you so much more than how to pick and roll. It gives you memories, lessons, people and experiences that will last you a lifetime.

14. Ball is life.

I mean, there's nothing else more to say than, "Ball is Life."