Nike used to have these shirts that said "Birth.Basketball.Death". This shirt implies that basketball is life. As much as one would want that to be true there is life after basketball, or whatever sport you play. I read an article in the LA Times the other day about athletes who suffer with depression after they are no longer active in their sport. I could relate with these athletes. I didn't go through depression but to this day I'm still trying to find my new niche.
I started playing basketball when I was 12 years old. Instantly immersed myself in the sport. It was all I watched, if it was daylight I was outside with the ball, every decision I made was made with regards as to how it would effect my "basketball career". At 12 years old I loved the game and no one could tell me that I wasn't going to be playing in the NCAA tourney when I went to school. Clearly it did not turn out like that. I worked out with my college but I took a job rather than officially try out for the team.
So there I was. Retired at 19. At first I was happy for the break. No more practice, no more running, no more being tethered to this round ball. So now I found that I had this free time but guess what? No friends because they were all still playing basketball. So now I had this sort of emptiness. All this free time. No matter what I did you could look at me and know that I was an athlete. I had a basketball "swag" It's been a long and tedious process but I promise I'm getting better everyday at this new phase of life.
Now I'm a young woman at 23. I still love sports in general. My love for basketball isn't nearly as fanatical as it was when I was 12. People change. I'm still most comfortable in basketball shorts and a beater but I can rock heels and look damn good when I do so. I let go of my ponytail and started locking my hair. My confidence no longer comes from how good I am on the court. My confidence comes from a whole nother place. Where exactly? I can't say for sure. I just know I have it. I went from an athlete to a more well rounded person. I can't shed my tendencies from the past because they are forever engraved in me. I'm just picking up more parts of me along the way as I live and I'm so proud of the person I'm becoming. There is something in between basketball and death. It's called...LIFE.