Posted: Thursday, November 01, 2012 7:23:37 AM
“Now remember, basketball is a lot like life….” my dad begins to mumble as we chat in the car after yet another Saturday afternoon spent on the court. Sports have been an intricate part of my life, long before high school even started. My dad is head of NJB: the National Junior Basketball Association. I am the middle child of four siblings and each of us played multiple sports growing up. Basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, flag football, swim, soccer, golf, that week of water polo, the list goes on. It was simply engrained in us: If you are a (Insert Our Last Name)*, you play sports.
On one hand, sports created an incredible amount of pressure. I used to (and still do) get extremely nervous before games, petrified that I would play bad. My dad coaches basketball and is not afraid of giving me advice (read correcting me) on what I’m doing poorly. At times, sports can seem all-consuming, always at the top of the “to do list”. Sometimes, it may even be hard to differentiate between my dad being a critical coach or a well-meaning father, but only because he cares.
But on another level, sports have become a way I can identify myself in my family. While girl scouts, school plays, and Open Houses were never my dad’s thing, I knew he would be actively involved in basketball. He may not remember what English class I was taking, but he would know my coach. Sports unified us. It consumes our free time and impresses on us life lessons. And my dad has the sport metaphors to prove it (seriously that could be 500 words in and of itself)
After two knee surgeries and PRP (platelet rich plasma) for a separated AC joint, basketball was always the end goal. As a senior in high school, it seems weird that my sports career might be becoming to an end soon. But, that’s the thing-the memories, the long hours, the sweat, the love of the game- they will always be there in the back of our lives, as something my family chose to do.
In some ways, I wish the sports system was different than it is now. I wish we lived in a world that neighborhoods of families could go outside and play without such a scheduled and regulated sports schedule. I wish the little league parents would understand that there is more to life than sports. But even with this, sports will always be something that I associate with my family. The long car rides to my sister’s CIF volleyball games, the discussion of which sports my younger sister should choose, the jokes to my brother telling him that with his long, dangly legs he could be an Olympic runner: these are all memories that are tangible and engrained into the fiber of my family.
At the end of the day, it is just a game, but it’s a game that completed my family.