The symphony of the polished hardwood floor rubbing up against the soles of my basketball shoes is music to my ears; every step composes the harmonic rhythmic squeaks which leaves me defenseless against its hypnotic effects. The smell of the rubber basketball intoxicates me and transforms me into an uncontainable threat on the court, or at least I thought it did. The flashing of photography in the crowd makes me realize how important of a moment this was. It was moments like these which allowed me to let go, unlock myself from the shackles of the stresses of life and do something I loved doing, playing the game of basketball.
The Amateur Athletic Union basketball season was something I would never get used to. Every night was a new beginning; however it was a specific night which encompasses my thought bubbles to this day, January 6, 2011. The shot-clock was winding down when Coach Miles began to wave his arms with a hurried look on his face, demanding a timeout. It felt as though the shriek of the referee's whistle stopped time as I started to roam in my own thoughts, reminiscing how it all began.
I saw myself trying to walk in the shoes of someone whom did not exist, myself playing basketball as a profession. I would go to the local recreational field after school and as I looked around, I saw ongoing games all of the time. There were excessive yells and grunts, intimidation was what they strived for. I never thought of myself as an authoritative figure to factor in intimidation with my game. Even professional basketball player Derrick Rose finds it difficult to spew words saying sometimes, "I just can't do it." Basketball was a process I was uncomfortable with, even though it was something I always wanted to pursue.
The night of January 6th of the AAU division finals game, I was in a race with the clock. Coach Miles took out his clipboard and went to work on the game plan when all of a sudden his eyes became fixed upon me. Coach emphatically gave me my orders. We were down by two points. My heart pounded and my stomach twisted, my palms sweating. I was directing traffic with my hands and yelling to my teammates at the top of my lungs, telling them to get into their positions. After receiving the ball, I let go of it, flicking my wrist towards the basket. The ball rolled around on the ring and out it went. I missed the shot. This was my time to shine, my magnum opus would be revealed entitling me the hero. Instead, failure engulfed me and I realized that confronting what I had been afraid of illuminated the road ahead of me.
It should be obvious that I had not been honored with any award, however I did receive something I never would have without failing. I gained a new perspective, a new lens for the projection of academic, athletic, or any other hardships. This helped me better understand myself and it allowed me to bloom into a leader. I became a general, leading an army against a combative pursual. Even though I failed, I realized I had endured a slip, but not a fall.