I’ve found it difficult to stay focused, especially after winning the National Cup championship. Here in Ireland, the National Cup is regarded as the biggest accomplishment to achieve in Irish basketball and is said to be the Irish equivalent to winning the NCAA championship. The last time DCU Mercy won a National Cup was 7 years ago in 2011, so the win was massive for the club. It also meant watching my teammates accomplish a goal they had dreamt of since they were little, while I had been in the league for only a few months! Of course, after the game, you can imagine the kind of celebration we had. To put it simply, it was awesome. Anyway, this win was such a huge accomplishment for the club that the whole week after the Sunday game consisted of heavy media coverage of our win. From multiple newspapers headlining our weekend win to local news stations and radio shows interviewing players and coaches about the game, it was hard to not stay in the mindset of being a champion. The problem with being stuck in this championship mindset was that my teammates and I fell complacent. As anticipated, my teammates and I fooled around and didn’t take the following week of practice very seriously. This was a mistake. That Saturday, we played against Liffey Celtics, who we were tied with at first in the league. A win over Liffey would have secured our spot as top in the league and therefore we would be seated first going into March playoffs. However, due to our lack of “battle readiness” and focus to play the game, we fell short by 4 points at the end of the fourth quarter. This loss was a rude awakening that brought everyone back down to the reality that we aren’t invincible just because we won the National Cup. If we want to stay on top, we have to change our thinking as a team and get back to who we were before the Cup game.
Now with the season winding down, our team has to rebuild and refocus in practice. Although it’s tough to reframe my mindset, I have to do it because the reality is that I may never play in competition like this again. Therefore, I need to embrace the tiredness and push myself to be the best player I can be over the next 5 weeks. I need to come out of this season knowing that I left it all on the court, with no regrets or doubts in my mind of shoulda, coulda, woulda. “Whatever it takes” has been our team motto and certainly, I need to do whatever it takes to bring my team back to the top.
“Second by second, stay in the process”