My Basketball Journey… by Taylor

A girl holding an orange basketball in her hands.

My journey with basketball has been a great one. I have played it since around 3rd grade. I love it and it will always be something I love and have a place in my heart.

When I was younger, I started off playing at a church. I had a lot of fun. As soon as I started playing, I knew it was my thing. It was my main sport, and I thought it would always be.

My dad was my coach when I was younger. He loved coaching and watching me play. He used to play it when he was younger. He still coaches me till this day. I was not super good when I was younger, but I was pretty average. I remember one game I was the only kid who didn’t score. My dad set up a play so that after one kid shot a free throw, they could chunk the ball across the court to me. I was wide open but still nervous. I made it, though.

After Upward basketball, at the church, I started AAU travel ball when I was in elementary school. I had a coach named Heather. She was absolutely amazing! I love her and always will. She is like a close friend. Actually, she is one. She has taught me a lot. She prepared me for my future with basketball.

Once I got in Junior High, things got harder, but I got better. I was always nervous before games, though. I would also get nervous in practices. I would be too hard on myself, and I still am. I stuck with it, though. I knew I was doing well, but still focused on what I messed up on. However, I love the sport, so I didn’t want to let it go. Later on, I started to think about whether or not I still wanted to play. I started thinking like this around 7th and 8th grade. I never officially settled on quitting.

I decided to keep playing. I did not hate playing or anything like that. It just started to become something I did not always have fun doing. I will say that those moments when I made a great shot or game changing move felt amazing! One time, we were playing against a team at their gym. I was in 7th grade at the time. We were tied 30-30 at the last 10 seconds. I got fouled and had a chance to put us ahead of them. If I made at least one free-throw then we would be up by one point. I made both! We were then up by 2 points with about 10 seconds left. I felt so good, yet nervous, at that very moment. We tried our best to guard them, but one girl got the ball and dribbled down the court to their goal. I could not let her win the game. I was determined. I ran as fast as I could and tipped the ball right from her hand. She still managed to get it back before it went out of bounds, but she did not have enough time to get off a good shot off. She just threw it up and completely missed. I was so happy! I made the winning shots and defensive play to win the game! That was one of my happiest moments while playing basketball.

Now, I am in high school. I decided to keep playing basketball. I was extremely nervous and anxious. When we started practicing, coach did not cut anyone off the team. If you wanted off, then you would just quit. I didn’t want to quit exactly at the time. The head coach, Wilkins, was starting to really like me, and coach heather, the assistant coach, already loved me. It felt good that they loved me and how I played. I am a really great shooter. That’s what I love to do. I was not that good at handling the ball, but I sure could shoot it. Later on, I started to think different though. After about halfway through the season I was not having fun playing. It started feeling like a job rather than a fun sport or hobby. After the season was over, I broke. I started to really think about how unhappy I was playing every day. We never got a break. We played all year round. I finally decided to quit.

Now, I feel free. I feel like I can do what I really want to do. I want to help animals when I’m older. I am going to take classes that will help me learn more about them. I still love basketball but just as something I do on my own for fun. I do not want to do it all the time and at my school. I am much happier now and glad that I made that important decision in my life.