A Game of Transitions
For many years of my life, I played the game of basketball. From the ages of 8 to 18, I was positioned as center on every single basketball team I had ever tried out for. In the beginning, it was fun. I got to run around with my friends a couple of hours each day and actually learn a set of skills that were useful both on and off of the court. Though as time progressed, the games got more intense, the practices were purposefully difficult, and the stakes of being a championship winning team became a top priority. For me, playing at a varsity level proved to be a point of misery. The minute my senior year season ended, I told everyone that I was packing up my jersey to never again play the game of basketball.
I was serious about that promise too. I spent the last 6 years of my life avoiding it. I stopped attending games, the channel got turned anytime the NBA or WNBA was aired, March Madness was a no, and I was happy to be done with it. Whenever I thought about all the years I spent playing, I immediately associated it with the burn of my lungs during conditioning, the cramps in my feet from fallen arches, or just the downright embarrassment of my awareness that I was never good enough to meet the standards of the rest of my team. It wasn’t until recently that I started to understand just what basketball was teaching me about myself; and it wasn't until I finally picked up a ball that I realized how much I missed being a part of something that once brought true joy into my life. Ironically, I made those realizations during my voluntary mental rehabilitation in a Pennsylvanian mental hospital.
“Basketball is a game of transitions”
My Junior Varsity coach had always said. “Each possession is important, it only takes a couple of minutes to turn the game around“. That stuck with me. I recognized how applicable that theory could be to not only basketball, but just life in general. Inevitably, things change, people change, your surroundings change, and it becomes a challenge to think of how to flow with such changes while trying to keep the game running in your favor.
As previously said, my recollection of these conversations only came flooding back to me as I was chosen to play a pickup game during my stay at a mental health facility. And disclaimer, I am not “crazy”. I’d prefer that people learn that those of us who struggle with heightened mental illness are still human, and often lack the resources to be rehabilitated back to whatever our truest form of self may be.
Since I graduated from the Harrisburg High School, my life has been filled with transitions. Some seamless, some overwhelmingly difficult, yet here I am living to tell the story while it is still fresh in my mind, body, and soul. The feeling is therapeutic, as I recap my life over the past year, and now more than ever I feel empowered to share my story of the struggles I‘ve faced through life's trials and tribulations. It is my hope that whomever finds themselves here, reading my words, will find solace and appreciation in their own battles. As we all continue to face a world that profits off of our pitfalls, this blog series serves as the introduction to the tales of my journey through life. Hopefully you enjoy them.