With the second half of the season underway for the Sligo All-Stars, I’m becoming aware that my basketball career will soon come to a close. It’s a feeling all too familiar – nine months ago I thought I’d played my last game when Swarthmore got eliminated from the NCAA Tournament one game short of the Final Four. At the time I didn’t know I would be awarded the Victory Scholarship and was mentally prepared to say goodbye to basketball upon graduating college. The opportunity to continue playing and coaching in Sligo has been such a gift and in the twilight of my career I have been able to reflect on the countless memories with a newfound appreciation.
Basketball has always been my escape – something I am in love with that I could as a distraction from life’s pressures. Throughout high school and college I became addicted to practice and repetition, spending hours at the park or in the gym working on ways to improve my skills and continue to elevate my game. I grew to love the process, especially the struggle. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and pride to work hard at something and finally see results. Transitioning away from competitive play is something I am perfectly at peace with. Basketball has changed my life, and therefore is engrained in who I am. I was a fan of the game before I scored my first official points and will continue to be long after I score my last.
When basketball does go there will be several hours a day that I used to put towards that passion that I’ll now have free. I’m currently searching for a new hobby, hopefully one I fall in love with and provides new opportunities, friendships, and challenges. Before moving to Ireland I bought a DSLR camera to document my travels and have gotten great joy out of capturing memories digitally. Photography is a world that I know little about but that I find fascinating.
I also recently signed up for guitar lessons in Sligo. I have never been musically oriented but always loved guitar and figured it would be a memorable experience to learn to play in a foreign country. Currently I’m learning to read music, a completely new language to me, and master different chords despite a terribly inflexible wrist and fingers. The struggle reminds me of first learning to shoot a basketball or dribble between my legs. Climbing the mountain will take hard work and discipline, but nothing good ever comes easy. If guitar or photography provides a fraction of what I got out of basketball the required investment will pay itself off many times over.
Stay tuned! (haha)