I recently went to my first Soul Cycle class and yes, it was definitely an experience. I had never taken a spin class before so it was a completely unexpected experience. 10/10 would recommend. Here are my 12 thoughts for my first spin class!
I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.
I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.
Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.
I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.
When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."
Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.
Two points separated the Montgomery High School's mock trial team and me from capturing the county finals victory.
Feeling bitter from this narrow defeat, I looked forward towards next season with a strong desire that we would win. However, one glaring obstacle stood in my path: the actual team. Inexperienced members filled many crucial witness positions due to a shallow candidate pool, and although these members tried their best, they just were not up to par with last year's talent, as they regularly failed to memorize their direct and cross examinations and speak with poise.
I grew frustrated by my teammates with each passing day. Eventually, I gravitated towards holding my teammates accountable for holding me back; I harshly criticized their performance and hounded them whenever they showed up late to meetings. Fed up, I hoped that my performance would mask the incompetence of my teammates. This plan somewhat worked, as Montgomery scored decently in the scrimmage rounds. Still, the team overall received a plethora of criticisms from judges and how we needed significant improvement.
Just why did I have to be these people? I never felt so far away from the elusive title I craved. Hopeless, I thought back to last year, when times were much smoother. I thought back to the competition and our path there. I then thought of how I started my path as a witness in mock trial, all clueless and shy. I thought of the times my lawyers helped me grow as a speaker even though they did not have to.
After remembering last year's journey, I decided to work vigorously with my teammates to help them improve their mock trial skills. I spent hours with each witness analyzing the case together, helping them memorize their responses, and providing them speaking tips. It took a lot of emotional control, as I still felt very frustrated at their slow growth, but I knew this was the right way to win.
With competition around the corner, the team is still a far cry from last year. The goal of winning the finals appears to be a pipe dream at this point. However, I find satisfaction that I sacrificed an immense goal of mine for something far more important than a trophy: the mentoring, growth, and development of my peers in the skills that they will use for a lifetime.