14 Things That Basketball Taught Me

14 Things That Basketball Taught Me

Ball is life.
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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."

Cover Image Credit: Briana Marquez

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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To All the Seniors Making Their College Decision

Decision day is just around the corner, but this doesn't have to be a stressful time.

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This time last year I was agonizing over what I was sure would be the hardest decision of my life: choosing which college to enroll in.

I had narrowed down my options to two colleges that I was absolutely in love with. I could picture myself on both campuses living out my ideal college experience. They were both great schools, and the idea of having to choose one and leave the other behind was tearing me up inside. I felt like I was alone in this feeling, but the truth is, there are thousands of high school seniors who feel the exact same way this time of year.

Society likes to romanticize the whole college commitment process, but it can be the most stressful time of your teenage life.

I remember seeing my friends post perfectly-posed pictures, beaming with happiness while decked out in their college apparel, their picturesque future campus serving as the backdrop to their college announcement. While I was happy for my friends, I was increasingly anxious as I felt the clock tick down to decision day. I had still yet to wrap my head around the fact that I was graduating high school, and leaving everything I had ever known behind. The idea of finding a new home that I believed would define the rest of my personal and professional life was stressful, to say the least. After all, I was 17 and had never had to make a decision that I felt would alter the course of my life.

Where you go to college does not define you.

I was lucky enough to get into schools that have great reputations, but the reality is that no matter where you go to college, you are going to be able to make the most out of your degree and be successful. My advice is to avoid unnecessary opinions about the colleges you are considering. This means staying off of all the forums and discussion boards where people trash colleges for no reason. These discussion boards are toxic, and I know that they negatively impacted my decision process. You need to make the decision for yourself because after all, you are the one who will be attending that college.

While you shouldn't hesitate to ask for advice from the people you love and trust, do not let their opinions be the deciding factor for you.

I was fortunate enough to know a few people who had chosen between the same two colleges that I had narrowed my decision down to; finding out why they chose either college was helpful to gather additional information, but I never let it heavily influence my feelings towards either school. This is the first step into adulthood for you, and it is important that you arrive at your decision in an intellectually independent manner so that you end up where you are supposed to be. That being said, there are multiple factors that helped me arrive at what I knew in my heart was the right decision.

Sadly, financial aid offers need to play an important role in your college decision.

You must weigh the cost of your attendance versus its benefits. With tuition on the rise, most prospective college students need some form of financial assistance in order to pay for their education. Tuition is sky-high at most private colleges, and no matter how much it hurts to think about it, the cost of your attendance must play a role in your decision. It might sound great to attend a prestigious institution with an impressive national reputation, but it might be better for you in the long run to attend a slightly lesser known institution that is more affordable. Calculating your expected student loan debt can be difficult mentally and emotionally, but you need to know what you are getting yourself into. Once you graduate, you will need to start paying off your loans so it is essential that you plan for that.

There are ways you can help ease the financial burden of college, but don't count on it.

Apply for as many scholarships as you can, and hope that it works out in your favor. If you have not already, appeal your financial aid offer. There is always a chance that your dream school could give you more money. If you are willing to take on more debt because you have fallen absolutely in love with a college, then that is a sacrifice that you must think long and hard about. I advise talking to your parents about the possible implications of incurring student loan debt are. In the end, you have to choose the college that is the right fit for you, and sometimes that means taking on more debt.

Focus on the feeling you had when you stepped onto the campus for the first time.

Think back to your first visit. What was your first impression of the college? I know the first time I visited my future college, I fell absolutely in love. I remember feeling heartbroken at the thought that I could possibly be rejected from there during the application process. I was determined to be admitted because I loved it so much. I told everyone who would listen about how great my visit was and how excited I was to apply and possibly visit again. If you don't really remember how you felt during that first visit, or you are reconsidering a school you previously looked over, I would recommend visiting again. Most importantly, attend accepted students day! I attended accepted students day at both schools I was seriously considering, and it was after visiting the 2nd one that I realized the first one was the right choice. I took one final visit before I officially committed to my college, that way I could be confident that I had made the right decision.

Focus on the academic program that you are interested in.

I know that when I was making my final college decision, I focused too heavily on the social scene and extracurriculars at my school. Don't forget that when you are deciding to go to college, you are deciding what training you want to receive for your future career. Academics are central to your college experience, so look for a program that you feel can set you up for success. If you're going in undecided, still take a look at the process involved in deciding your major, and check to see that there are a few that pique your interest.

Focus on the atmosphere of the campus.

Take time to imagine yourself on campus and explore how you would fit into the campus community. Yes, it may be a great school, but if you cannot see yourself thriving as a student there, it is not the place for you. College is a big transition, and it will be even harder if you are trying to change yourself in order to be accepted. FInd a place that welcomes you, a place where you can be planted and bloom. If it comes down to it, make a pros and cons list and weigh which factors are deal-breakers for you versus compromises that you can make. No school is perfect, but they may be perfect for you.

In the end, you know in your heart which school is right for you, and no matter what, you will end up in the place that you belong.

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