The campus is alive, temperatures are lowering, and soon the leaves are going to start changing colors. You know what that means, summer is officially over; and I couldn’t be more excited. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the cookouts, carefree nights, and days on the beach as much as anyone else (I’ve have to keep my bronze on); but I’m glad it’s over because that means I can finally get back to my one true love in life…BASKETBALL!! Ever since basketball and I started getting serious in high school, I have spent nearly every waking moment either playing it, working out for it, or thinking about it. The game is infectious and I will forever have an unbreakable bond with it. But that doesn’t mean that the relationship has been without its strains either…
While the end of summer marks the time for basketball again, it also marks the beginning of preseason workouts and all of the dreaded conditioning tests. If you ever want to see grown men broken down all you have to do is come watch our weekend conditioning, I’m sure it’s quite a sight to see. A lot of people don’t understand what exactly it takes to be a basketball player at this level, all they see is the pretty stuff: the games, the celebrations, etc. and there is so much more that goes into it. Between preseason workouts, offseason workouts, and season practices it’s almost a nonstop cycle. I can honestly say that I spend more time trying to perfect my craft than most people do with their professions. All of that work is draining both physically and mentally and can leave you burned out, by the end of it all you can start losing sight of why you put yourself through all the pain in the first place.
I almost reached this point during the summer, our season just ended and without any real break we were already back to the workouts and lifting. This lasted all the way until school ended and I just never stopped, I was working out practically everyday, Memorial weekend, 4th of July, you name it and I was in the gym working. It was a vicious cycle of basketball, basketball, and more basketball. In the middle of this I was definitely losing my vigor, that is until I met Kyle (name changed for obvious reasons).
As a summer job I work with little kids, and we had this one kid named Kyle, who happened to be autistic. If you’ve ever worked with an autistic kid you know that it can be a very difficult thing and it requires a lot of patience, there are times where he would just not seem to understand something you wanted him to do, and would just wander off and do whatever he wanted. But I learned a trick, if I wanted him to focus all I had to do was ask him, “Kyle, do you want to go shoot?” The response was the same every time, he would throw both his hands up and give a resounding YES! It always brought a smile to my face, here is a kid who probably would never be able to compete at the level I have the opportunity to everyday because of his situation but that cruel fact would never stop him from doing it every single day and doing it for no other reason than for the love of it. It definitely puts everything back in perspective and from that moment on I made a vow to always go hard until I couldn’t go anymore and then go some more, if I didn’t I’d be doing a disservice to everyone like Kyle who would give anything to be in my position. I will never again need to look for a reason to continually push myself so hard; all I need to do is think of Kyle and his reason for doing it, and that’s for the love of it.
Now I talked about basketball because that is my passion in life and what I love doing more than anything else but this same concept applies to anything you do in life. If you ever feel yourself losing the motivation to keep going, all you need to do is think of what made you do it in the first place; and if you’re answer to that question isn’t for the love of it then you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons and doing a disservice to everyone else who would love to be in your position. If you don’t know what you love in life then keep looking, I know there are situations where it feels like chasing a love and a dream isn’t the right choice, but trust me, when you find it it’s one of the sweetest feelings in the world. You’ll know you’ve found it because it will consume you and drive you to lengths that you never knew you could ever reach, and you won’t need any reason to give yourself fully to it other than for the love of it. Never fear what may happen, we have no control over those things anyways.