I grew up playing sports. I loved them, and I was lucky enough to be good at them. But when I neared the end of High School, people started talking about gym. So I joined the gym, too. I didn’t like it at all, but I figured I had to get used to it since I’d be done with High School soon. Guys, I really, truly hated it.
This week, I finally went to play basketball again. After FIVE years. But what took me, the High-School star-player so long to go back to something I loved so much?
1. Fear of Failure
Y’all, when you’re the best at something for a while and then you stop doing it, going back and starting over is scary. Let’s face it- I’m RUSTY AF! (More on that here) I feared looking foolish, awkwardly bouncing a ball around, missing baskets. I was scared of 7-foot-tall men chuckling at my ridiculous attempts at playing a sport that, let’s face it, has a minimum requirement for swag.
2. The Belief That I Had to “Grow Up”
In my first year of University, I briefly joined the basketball team. I quit, partly because NO ONE in the team was in Engineering for a REASON, and partly for silly reasons discussed in this post. But also, I’d gotten it in my head that that thing that brought me joy had to be left behind. That I had to “grow out” of playing on courts and fields and graduate to the adult-infested gym.
I’d told myself that once you grow up, you have to go to gym. You can’t play sports anymore, ’cause that’s for kids. And so gym felt like a punishment, that thing I “have to do because I’m an adult.” Because it’s the only sustainable way to keep fit. And the result? Nothing. I’ve done NOTHING for the past few months, y’all.
So?? How’d It Go, Girl?!
After months of trying to get other people to go to the courts with me (the courts in my apartment complex), I decided that I’d wait for no one. So I took that brand-new, virgin basketball that’d been collecting dust in my apartment and went out. It’s a crazy-long walk to the basketball court, past about seventeen thousand tennis courts (the bougie tenants need their tennis) and I started getting nervous. There were people there. Thankfully only took up half the court. The farther half had about 3 people unofficially practising so I asked if I could share the space with them. And, because the Universe wanted to welcome me back home, the 3 dudes asked if I would play with them. I was
like whaaaaaaaat this is so crazy, what divine timing is this??
Y’all. I hadn’t felt that rush in years. It was amazing. I was in High School again, in the best part of my day. Sure, it was an easy game (thanks, Muscle Memory). To be honest at some point I got so bored I started playing myself. But it was wonderful. It was FUN. And a challenge to my unfit self! Gatdamn I used to do this for 2 hours almost every day??
Next day, my body was done. It was in shock. And I physically could not have even walked to the basketball court 😂 But yesterday I went back, got a half-court to myself and just did some drills and shots, no-pressure. I had an amazing time. I’m in love again.
So?? What Did You Learn, Girl?
I learned that I’d been ignoring my inner self calling me to go back. I learned that if I kept doing that in all areas of life, I’d miss out on a lot of great times. I learned that that same courage that got me to go into an “unrealistic” career field- just because I wanted to- needed to be used again and again in all areas of my life.
I learned that your gut knows what’s good for you- my gut was so tired of telling me to go back to playing sports, it was like GIRL I BEEEEEEN SAYING.
I learned that the potential opinions of some tall dudes who don’t know me meant absolutely nothing. That it was okay to have people think I suck for a while.
Most importantly, I learned that I hate gym. That I FUCKING HATE THE GYM and IT’S OKAY! I don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. I can decide how I want to move my body everyday and if that means I run around a court with a ball, laughing with some people I just met, then that is exactly what I’m going to do.