To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time

You will learn trust, passion, hard work, teamwork, and so much more from this game, but only if you allow yourself to
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To the little girl picking up a basketball for the first time,

Welcome to the world of basketball. This game you’re about to play has the ability to change your life and take you places nothing else can, but you’re in control of that. After playing 14 seasons of basketball, and with one remaining, I have experienced all that this game has to offer. I have lived through the high points and the joys and made it through the lows too.

The smell of the gym will become your favorite scent and the sound of sneakers squeaking will become music to your ears. You will learn trust, passion, hard work, teamwork, and so much more from this game, but only if you allow yourself to. You will make the most memorable friendships with the girls who wear the same team name as you on their jersey. They will be the ones there to help you up from the charge you just took or be there to brush you off when you don’t have your best game.

This game will bring you consistency. Later in life, when things seem like they’re not going the way you want, a basketball and a hoop will be all you need to clear your mind and bring yourself together.

The game of basketball will test you and push you in ways that you did not know were possible. You will have a coach or two who know how to get under your skin and who will push you to your breaking point but don’t break. Remember the feelings of joy the sport has given you and let them overpower the feeling of doubt you may have. Don’t ever give up.

When you don’t make the team you want or when you're frustrated by the way a season is going, don’t let it discourage you from pushing through. If it hasn’t happened yet I guarantee you that at one pint it will, don’t let it define you. Push through it because it will only make you a better player and person.

You will have coaches that are your biggest advocates and coaches that you feel hate you. Don’t let them change the person and player that you are. Keep your head high and play the game that you know how to play. Listen to their critiques and seek their help, but don’t let their negative comments towards you and your game cause you to hang up your jersey.

When people say, "You're good, for a girl!" look them in the eyes, smile, and tell them that being a girl has nothing to do with your basketball skills. When you tell others that you are going to play in college they will smile and tell you that probably won't happen just say, "Watch me."

On Friday nights when others are going out and Saturday mornings when others are sleeping in you will be in the gym pushing yourself to be the best you can be. Keep at it. Those are the times that will put you on the path to where you want to go. You will want to give up at times and you will be tired but remember your goal, remember where you want to go.

Appreciate every time you step onto that court because you never know when your last opportunity to be there will come. Whether injury, illness or just the end of your playing time coming, eventually we all have to end. When that time does come remember the smells, the music to your ears, the friendships, and most importantly the lessons the game has taught you.

The number one thing to never lose sight of through the years is why you picked up the basketball in the first place.
Cover Image Credit: Kelsey Trimble

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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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.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

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."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

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.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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5 Things To Take Away From The 2019 Sugar Bowl

The 2019 Sugar Bowl was a test of mental strength between the Texas Longhorns and the Georgia Bulldogs. In the end, the Longhorns held on to win 28-21, yet there aren't too many reasons to fret over this shocking upset.

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1. Sidelined Defense 

Georgia struggled to run a pressure defense on Texas Quarterback Sam Ehlinger, but this was not unexpected. Georgia was missing star DB Deandre Baker, who sat out to preserve his stock in the 2019 NFL Draft, OLB D'Andre Walker who was tending a groin injury, and DL Jordan Davis who was fighting a back injury.

2. Offensive Fighters 

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While multiple injuries plagued the Bulldogs this season, many who had issues should be at full capacity by the start of the 2019 season. These include some current starters, such as brick wall Offensive Linemen Ben Cleveland and Cade Mays. There are also some who started the season hindered by an injury, such as 5-star RB Zamir White who suffered an ACL injury in the pre-season. Also missing from action was freshman all-purpose back James Cook, a large weapon in the slot and sideline sweep plays. This nearly made the Georgia run game one dimensional and leads to another large factor in the failure to launch in UGA's usual offensive prowess.

3. RUN THE BALL... or maybe not

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The Georgia running game has always been a staple of the team's offensive success. The Sugar Bowl was an opportunity to capitalize on a Texas defense who has been known to miss tackles. The Georgia run game was shut down, only amassing 72 yards total. Partially due to preparation by the Texas defense, this stoppage also had lots to do with a lack of confidence that may Georgia rushers usually come equipped with. D'Andre Swift fumbled twice in the game, and even one misstep such as a lost fumble can shoot a young back's confidence. Elijah Holyfield was also stuffed at the line through all but 5 rushes on the day. A player who has been very overlooked by the media and limelight alike has been Junior Brian Herrien, who, while only gaining 17 yards on the ground, scored Georgia's first touchdown of the night, and fought for yards on every carry he was afforded. With a healthy future for James Cook and Zamir White and both Herrien and Holyfield reportedly returning for their senior seasons, this team's rushing attack should only get better.

4. The Future

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Georgia has another top 5 projected recruiting class to add onto the already young roster. This includes five committed 5-star players such as 1st ranked recruit in the nation DE Nolan Smith, 1st ranked ILB Nakobe Dean, 1st ranked center Clay Webb who was flipped from his home state Alabama team, 2nd ranked DT Travon Walker, and top 10 WR Dominick Blaylock. This fills in gaps left by stars such as center Lamont Gaillard, DE Jonathan Ledbetter, WR Terry Godwin, and LB D'Andre Walker.

5. A Show of Class

Head Coach Kirby Smart made it very clear to the public this season that he was not satisfied with a game won with extraneous penalties, and this showed as the Bulldogs totaled 0 penalties through the first half, and only 3 for the game in total. Towards the end of the game during the Georgia offense's last drive, Texas had 2 different cornerbacks disqualified for obvious targeting calls, and though Georgia was visibly upset and stood up for one another, there was a show in class by the team that exemplified what Bulldawg Nation strives for: respect. They knew by that time that the more focused team came to play, and seemed to run more efficiently when this occurred, with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

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