So this weekend was interesting. My club team the Mystics, took a trip to Carlow for a tournament. I got to see a lot of the other Victory Scholars and even play against some of them (shout out to Maeve!). We played three games, one of which was against an elite team from Scotland. My coach emphasized that this was a tournament just to see where we’re at as a team. Get comfortable playing with each other, see each other’s likes and dislikes on the court, etc. I didn’t go into this tournament with any expectations but I definitely didn’t think I was going to have the experience I did. This weekend was interesting because I think experienced almost every emotion possible, from being angry and frustrated to content and happy.
Let me start by saying I wasn’t too happy when I found out we’d be playing 3 games in one day. I hadn’t played that many games in one day since my AAU days which was about 5 years ago. The first two games is when I experienced a mix between anger, frustration, and disappointment. We didn’t win and I didn’t think I played well. Both of those games I felt lost and like I wasn’t.. as efficient as I’m used to being. I felt frustrated because I felt as my team already had a grove and played well amongst themselves and I didn’t “fit” in the grove. I was angry with myself because I didn’t score as many points as I know I could have. I was angry with myself because I wasn’t getting many shot opportunities and when I had them, they weren’t falling. I was angry with myself because of how tired I was and how out of shape I felt… After the games coach emphasized that it was okay that we lost but to me it wasn’t. I come from a D1 collegiate program where losing wasn’t okay. Where if we lost we were a disappointment. We would get chewed out for a solid half hour post game. Where if we lost there were consequences. So even though I’m no longer in that environment and my new coach isn’t like that, I was still doing those things to myself internally, I was ripping myself apart in my head. After the second game I called my mom and just cried.
We were only able to talk briefly, but by the end of the conversation I was able to calm down and be around other people without looking like someone just stole my puppy. The third game went differently, we still lost but I felt different. As a team we played better, we honestly could have won that game but fatigue kicked in since it was our third game of the day. I felt as I played better and was more relaxed. I was able to create shot opportunities for myself and actually knock them down… the second game I felt content.
This weekend was interesting. I think it did its intended job of having us get used to each other and playing as a team. By the end I think we started to find our rhythm, our shots were falling and defensively we were getting stops. We got better at passing the ball and making that extra pass to the open person. After the last game we were all dead tired but we were happy with how the day went.
This weekend was interesting because I realized a lot about myself. I realized my body isn’t as resilient as it used to be. I can’t drive through 3 people expecting to actually make the lay up. I can’t dive on the floor for loose balls and think I’m going to bounce right back up. In a nutshell, my body has officially turned on me. But, the most important thing I realized is that I still care about basketball. Not to put down my undergrad, but by the end of my 4 years there I was ready to hang up my basketball sneakers for good. Matter fact not hang them up, I was ready to throw them out. So my love for the game definitely wasn’t where it used to be. But on the bus ride back I reflected on the day and I realized, since I got so angry with myself and with losing shows me that I still care a great amount. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t have felt anything this weekend, I would have just coasted and and got through it. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t have gotten so frustrated and upset. If I didn’t care I wouldn’t cried. Once I realized this, I felt good, I felt happy.
We have another game next weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing how we grow from this weekend as a team. There’s only a couple of little things we need to tighten up on but other than that I think we have a pretty good team. I’m also looking forward to the other American we’re suppose to be getting. It would be her first game with the team, and I’m curious if she’ll have the same emotional experience I had. I hope she doesn’t, I was so drained after all of my internal battles. But, if she does, she’ll have me there as support. I can help shed some light on the situation and hopefully ease some the emotions. But if she isn’t even feeling that…. Then I can help her find a nice quiet spot… where she can also cry and call her mom. 😄