Sports have 100% been the biggest part of my life for as long as I can remember. For the longest time softball (baseball for girls) was my main sport and I absolutely loved it! One year I was playing on 3 different softball teams at once that is how crazy I was about this sport. Baseball has always been a main topic in my house growing up, and for anyone who has met my dad you know he can turn any conversation into a baseball reference. So I think it’s fair to say that I definitely get my love of sports from my him. Even though baseball was and continues to be a big part of my life, high school is really when I found my passion for basketball.
The first two years of of high school, basketball was just a social thing I did. Don’t get me wrong, I am a super competitive person so I took it seriously, but I never really thought basketball was going to go further than high school for me. It never even crossed my mind to try and play sports in college. Thankfully, for my final two years of high school I had a coach (Coach Cal) who really pushed me to continue getting better as a basketball player. He is the one who got me on the right AAU team, which ultimately opened so many college doors for me to choose from. I do owe him a lot in the sense he is the one who first motivated me to stick with basketball, and with his help I was given the opportunity to play Division I basketball at Siena College. Never in a million years did I think I would play basketball in college, let alone a Division I school. So, I am really lucky to have had Coach Cal in my corner because without him I don’t think I would have had the same opportunities for college as I did.
Going to Siena is probably one of the best decisions I have made thus far in my life. No question, those were the best four years of my life so far. Granted it had its ups and downs, but I was able to grow so much as a person and as a player. I can easily credit my head coach (Coach Jaques) with helping me grow so much during my time at Siena. She pushed to be better both on and off the court. On the court, I may not have been the best player out there, but I definitely was one of the hardest workers. I think my hard work mentality is what defined me as a player at Siena. Arriving at Siena, I remember after the first pick up game we played, I told one of my fellow freshman that I’m definitely not even going to get off the bench. I was in awe of the speed and physicality of the college game and knew right from the beginning I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to be a contributing member of this team. Being a freshman and going into that college level basketball environment is intimidating to say the least. I really didn’t think I was going to ever play, but I was honestly okay with that because I was just happy to be there. Like I said before, I never thought I would find myself in a situation like being on a Division I team, so just being there was an accomplishment in itself. I never could have foreseen that I would end up starting every game in my collegiate career (guess I must have been doing something right after all LOL). I did accomplish a lot basketball wise at Siena, but I think the most valuable lessons I learned were on a personal level. Coach Jaques really pushed me to be a better in a lot of ways other than just on the court. She pushed me to be a better leader, a better teammate, and she also helped me to gain confidence in myself. When I first got to Siena I was pretty quiet and just kind of just went about my business. Looking at where I was then to where I am now, I can say that I definitely have a lot more confidence in myself and thats all because Coach Jaques decided I was worth her effort to help (also I talk a lot more now so that can either be a good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide that LOL). Coach Jaques really challenged me to get out of my comfort zone throughout my four years. Even if I was hesitant at first to do so, I am glad she made me because it really helped me to grow personally and as a player. I really owe her and the entire Siena family a lot for helping me grow up. I still can’t believe that my career at Siena is over. It still feels like every time Siena has a game that its Game Day for me too. So, clearly I still miss Siena a lot, but that just means that the four years I had there were worth it.
With my basketball career winding down here, it has me thinking a lot about how basketball has really shaped me into the person I am today. At face value, basketball (and sports in general) teaches you how to work hard to be the best player you can be. But the life lessons you can take away from basketball are priceless. Basketball has taught me how to be a team player, improve my leadership skills, grow my personal confidence, communicate effectively, push my limits mentally and physically, be humble, improve time management skills, respect, etc. The list goes on and on, and these skills go beyond sports. They are invaluable skills that I can bring with me as I look to launch my career, and also as I continue my personal growth. When playing basketball is officially over for me it will be sad, but I am so happy that it has led me down the path that it has. Being able to end my career in a program like SCL is really icing on the cake for me.
I guess the purpose of this blog is just to show how, for me, basketball goes beyond the lines on the court. I could honestly go on and on about how basketball has impacted my life, but this is a blog not a book. No blog post is ever going to fully describe my feelings towards basketball and my appreciation for all of the coaches that I have had throughout my career. So to put it simply, basketball has given me so many opportunities and I am so thankful for everyone who has played a role in this journey with me. I am especially grateful to have such supportive parents who have been with me from the very beginning. If it weren’t for my mom and dad, none of what I have accomplished would be possible. They have always supported me and my decisions. Even when my decisions land me 7 1/2 hours away from home, or even now when I’m an entire ocean away. They are truly the best and I would not be able to do what I do if it weren’t for them being in my corner unconditionally. I love you guys and I hope you know how much I value your love and support.