Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Good Fight

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Those words are hung up in my locker, they're the first thing written on my "Inspirations" page in my play book, and they're what have kept me going over the last week.

Personally, I've had a tough few weeks. I've been pretty sick, I'm definitely run-down, and it doesn't take much to frustrate me these days. Some days I get so down that I'm not even sure that I want to play.  It takes a lot of mental prep to drag myself to practice.

I know this blog is about more than just me, but I think that everyone feels this way sometimes so I hope it's okay if I talk about myself for a bit.

The quote is a verse from the Bible (2 Timothy 4:7). I don't want to ostracize anyone so I'll leave my faith out of this, but I will to talk about that phrase from a basketball perspective.

I have fought the good fight.  I play hard and I'll do what is needed to win, but I play with integrity. I'm physical and I will hit you hard with a boxout but I will never do something dirty. I won't flop dramatically or pinch my check. As weird as it sounds I respect this game too much to play it that way. Basketball is about more than winning. Basketball is an outlet and an escape, it is a hospital, a church, and a therapist. Basketball has given me a lot, and I owe it some respect. The best way I can show that respect is to play with joy.

I have finished the race. I have five months left to be a basketball player. Five months.  That's not a ton of time.  I'm almost done being a VRed. I need to keep saying it so March doesn't sneak up on me. The last four and a half years have done a number on my body. Almost everything hurts and it's not just normal soreness anymore.  My wrists and elbows hurt, my ankles crack, and my hips pop. My body reminds me daily that it has put up with this sport for too long. Don't even get me started on my mental exhaustion. I'm not going to stop though, its the fourth quarter, the last few miles of the marathon, and I want more than anything to say in March that I was pushing my hardest right to the finish line.

I have kept the faith. I believe in a lot of things.  I believe that basketball is a part of who I am, but it's not all of who I am. I believe that nothing replaces hard work and industriousness. I believe that no one is harder on Tilly than she is on herself. I believe Mel when she says I contribute to the team, even though I don't play a lot of minutes. I don't have proof for any of these things.  I don't know know that they are true, but I believe them. I have faith in myself and my team. Do I question that faith? Yes, especially lately, but at the end of the day it's there. When I'm wavering and questioning I remind myself that there are reasons for my faith. That there are hours of work and dozens of teammates (past and present) behind me. They love me, value me, and put their faith in me - they can't all be wrong can they?

Every athlete hits roadblocks.  Sometimes they are little: getting a bad grade on an assignment, catching the flu, or spraining a finger. Sometimes they are major: serious injury or major personal problem. Regardless of how big or small they are I think that the method of getting over it is the same. I focus on what's important, I remember why I play by looking at the things I value about this game.  The friends I've made, the ways I've grown, and that incomparable feeling of achieving my goals. It isn't always easy but I have faith in myself, my team, and this game.  


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two Big W's!

 Hello from Toronto!

This weekend we’re at the Darcel Wright Memorial Classic Tournament at Ryerson. Preseason tournaments are always a fun way to see teams from across the country and this weekend is no exception. We’re at the tournament with four OUA teams (Ryerson, Brock, Toronto, and McMaster), two CanadaWest teams (UBC and Saskatchewan), one RSEQ team (Laval), and one AUS team (us!).

We left Freddy on Thursday and flew directly to Toronto.  We arrived on time with no luggage drama (thank you Air Canada) and headed to the hotel.  Since we didn’t play until Friday afternoon we had the afternoon and evening off to eat and explore (read: shop) in downtown Toronto.

Friday morning we had a shoot and then headed straight to our pregame meal.  Afterwards we had time for a quick nap/relax time at the hotel and then off to our first game of the tourney.  We beat Brock 65-62 in a tough, physical game.  Some games have big highlights and “TSN Turning Points” but in other games you just keep grinding away – that was our game against Brock. Post game we showered and went for food then most of us went shopping (again…). 

With the spot in the semi-final today came an awesome 5:30 tip time so after our shooting practice this morning we got to go up the CN tower – a first time experience for most of us!  Tonight we played UBC and came out with a 76-60 win.  We took a lot away from the game.  We made a lot of mistakes.  We had whole stretches where we did things wrong. Sometimes our offense was stagnant, or we were getting beat off the dribble, we missed some boxouts, and so on.  We were far from perfect.  Despite all that we continued to take care of details.  We kept good spacing, we shot well from the outside, we denied looks into the post, and most importantly we kept our composure.  When the TBirds would string together a few baskets we fixed whatever was wrong without losing the things we were already doing right.

Tomorrow we play in the tournament finals against Saskatchewan.  The game was set for 4:00pm but that doesn’t jibe with our 7:00 flight so we’re playing early.  Tip is at 10:00am so on that note it’s off to bed for me (and for Dutchie and Fox too!)