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.  


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