April 1st, 2023 | NEWS
In our final practice of the season yesterday, I reached a moment of clarity. The journey of our whole season finally dawned on me, and as I looked around the room of our team in a recovery session, I had to take in one of our last experiences together. After Saturday’s game, my basketball career will officially come to an end. All the film sessions, daily comraderies, shootarounds, in-game moments of pure excitement, and winning celebrations will cease to exist. In short, the process will be over. It’s tough coming to this realization. A chapter is coming to close, and a sport that has taken you across the world and introduced you to now-close friends will no longer play an active role in your daily routine.
But then there’s that quick moment when you realize it’s not done just yet. There is one more game to be played, one last ride. Prior to our cup win in January, I could only think about the process of this team and how our main focus was paying attention to every detail at our disposal. The point of developing a process is to achieve a desired outcome, a goal that you can set in mind when nothing has even been put into motion yet. Once that goal is defined and you have a plan of action, things begin to evolve. You start to pay attention to every detail about your game and others, getting better at our craft day-by-day. When scouting other teams, you find unseen advantages that could give you that extra edge needed to win. Your passes are sharper, your timing is better, and your team’s offensive and defensive chemistry are operating on a newer level with every game and practice.
One thing I didn’t mention about the process, however, is all the things you are willing to give up for that goal. That is what has been on my mind these last three weeks: Sacrifice.
In sports, every team’s goal is to win a championship. To be the last one standing, the top dog. But how far are you willing to go to achieve that? How much pain, frustration, and stress are you willing to take on to hold that trophy? These are the unsung moments in the process. All the days where things are out of your normal routine, where your body is tested to the limit, where you keep making mistakes, these are moments of learning that propel the overall betterment of the team. From this, you come away as a team that is linked on a deeper level than just guys on the court together. The best part about sacrificing for that goal is that everyone thrives off of each other’s success throughout the process. You feel the energy each time you step in the gym, and you’re excited to be there with the guys you’ve grown with, constantly looking towards the next challenge. That’s what this championship game means to UG Maree. It is our chance to use those learning moments and leave no regrets in the back of our minds after it’s all said and done.
Our cards are on the table, our chips are in the pot. It’s all or nothing come Saturday. The work we have done throughout the season has led us to the pinnacle of moments in sports, and we will use it as our foundation for competing at our highest level. One of my favorite quotes highlights this perfectly, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.” In one of the biggest moments of our season, we have our work and sacrifice to thank for getting us here. We tend to think that sacrifice is a negative idea, but not in basketball. It prioritizes that goal in your process and drives you to achieve something greater than yourself. That’s what makes sports so captivating. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, all that matters is your willingness to succeed and how far you’re willing to go. I could not be prouder of this team and everything we have poured into our process to get here.
Until that final buzzer, it’s all gas no brakes from the boys west of the Shannon.