I was never really a sporty guy. I went to school, did my work, played video games, and went to bed. I never really liked basketball in the first place. But, people were always asking if I played basketball because I was so tall. So, basketball didn’t seem that bad to try. A lot of my friends would go after school to play but I never did. So, I decided to go one day.
I got the hang of the game pretty quickly. I was getting pretty good too. Sometimes, I would go out late at night and try to work on my jump shot. All I could think about was basketball. I started to fall in love with the game.
I thought that I was ready to play in my first basketball league. There was a simple sign up and I was on a team. But it wasn't that easy. The league had a tryout to see how they would spread the teams out. I didn't really know how good I did because i didn't know what “good” was. But apparently, I was the best player on my team. That put me in total shock. I am the best player? How the heck were we going to win a game?
I had my very own jersey. It was just a t-shirt with a number on it but I didn't care. I was ready to play and I was motivated. I thought I was going to be the Lebron James of this league. Carry my team to some wins, win the playoffs etc. My family didn't play much basketball back in their day, so there wasn't much advice that could be given to me. I learned how to play basketball from NBA2K and most of the basketball games up on tv. So, my knowledge was not that high. But, I must have known something if I was the best player on my team.
My first basketball game was approaching me in 1 hour on a Wednesday. I got there half an hour early so I could get some shots up before the game. My shots were not going in. I started to get more and more nervous as each shot bounced off the rim and out. My mom was looking over at me with a weird and almost too excited face. It started to creep me out. She obviously was trying to keep a positive attitude about me missing all of these shots.
I saw some of the players on my team come in. We said our “hi’s” and “what’s up’s” to each other and they joined me in my shoot-around. Then players from the other team started to come in. My stomach started to growl a little bit but I knew that I wasn’t hungry. I didn’t really know what to do in this situation because I didn’t have much experience with these kind of situations.
But as I entered the game, I started to let all of the nerves go. I felt really confident in myself that I could score and that I could also get the win for my team. Boy, was I wrong. I ended up only scoring 1 point and losing by 20. I looked like a fool out there. I tried using some of the street basketball moves I learned with my friends but those didn't work. It seemed like that I had to know my limitations and to do what I can do. I was always a good rebounder. I had around 14 rebounds that game which was good for me. But when I got the rebound, I couldn't do anything with it on offense.
I was at the court everyday before my next game on wednesday trying to improve something about my game. If it was my shooting, and playback capability, I was trying to improve it. I didn't want to come into this next game missing a ton of shots and not knowing what I was doing. I figured out my role. I should have been using these rebounds to create baskets for me. A lot of these rebounds were on the offensive end so I felt that I could build off that and make me and my team in a better position. Because let's face it, if I can’t score, who will? We did lose by 20 so that isn't going to prove anything.
Wednesday was here. I was an hour away from my game. I knew that I had to really take action and show people that I can ball. I probably had lost the confidence from my teammates in me so I really had to earn that back. This was a statement game for me and my teammates. I had to go about like Curt Lemon and stop being afraid. I have to just go all in and do what I have to do. It is that simple.
My stomach wasn't growling. I wasn't sweating of fear. My jumpshot felt really good and I was going in consistently during warmups. I was ready. I knew it, my mom knew it, and my teammates knew. Unfortunately, coach didn't know it and put me on the bench to start the game out. I was pissed. I worked so hard over the week to improve myself and this coach decides to bench me. He had only seen 1 game from me. How could he have made that decisions quickly?
But it was okay. I ended up getting in the game without 5 minutes left in the first quarter. I was thinking to myself the whole entire time, “No mercy, no mercy, no mercy,” I hit the first shot that I took. It was a 3 pointer. Usually, those don't go in for me so I knew that this game was going to be special. And it was. Fourteen points, Twelve rebounds. Now that is a basketball game! But did we get the win? No. But for some reason, I didn't care. I was worried about my own stats and not the team. This had to change if we were going to get a win next week. Either someone has to turn into Kobe Bryant, or we need a real game plan.This was my first basketball league and I felt like I learned a lot. We only won 1 game out of the 8 we played that year and that was only because our team overall wasn't good. But at the same time, I felt very dominant because of the way I played. Just like Curt lemon, I felt very embarrassed the first time around. But I didn't give up. I made up for my mistakes and fixed them as soon as I could. . Because I knew the next time I played, I was going to dominate. And that is exactly what happened.