UC 2 2008
We were on the brink of destruction; our summer league basketball team was down double digits
in a game that would decide the city championship. We had been pressed end to end all game
and were stagnant offensively. At the half, it was quiet in the locker room; I sat in silence, but it
was not a weak and submissive stillness. Rather, it seemed that those moments in peaceful
seclusion provided the foundation for a gathering of self, a renewal of confidence that filled each
of us, for when our team took the court in the second half, a sudden surge of strength jolted
through our collective body as we battled together.
I became a force to be reckoned with; I tasted a power that had not often been mine during my
years of basketball. I knew that after hours of practice, years of dedication, and a deep desire to
excel at the game I loved would not deny us a victory. With thirty seconds remaining, the game
stood tied; and I riveted my eyes on the opposing point guard as he dribbled the ball up the court.
I read his eyes perfectly and as he passed, I snagged it mid-air and dribbled the length of the
court in a full sprint. As I neared our basket, I was fouled in a desperate attempt to keep me from
shooting the winning basket.
I found myself at not just the free throw line from which I would turn years of practice into one
glorious moment of victory, but rather a space brief but profound reflection of the person I had
become. I had achieved an opportunity of which I had only ever dreamt. And, it was an
opportunity that I would not let slip from my grasp. This moment had taken me far from being
the last man on the team, which I had been all summer, but more, it reflected the promise, the
perseverance, and the passion that I brought to my game. I realized this moment was one of
many that I could create for myself, and the test to come would help determine my confidence
both in myself and in my future.
I eyed the fiberglass backboard and realized the necessity of eliminating hesitancy and insecurity
from my mental game; I replaced that mind-set with a confidence that I was later told was
outwardly identifiable. A definitive strength suddenly filled my body; electricity pulsed through
my wrists as I released the two championship-winning shots. My success invigorated the crowd
and ingrained in me a memory that I know I can realize in whatever endeavors I choose to
undertake. I had transcended a boundary that would never limit me again.
Through this experience, I learned to welcome encounters that push me to perform, to improvise
and excel under pressure. I was able to transform myself from a bench warmer to player who
shone when the situation called for it. I am self-assured, but still, I have not lost the humility I
learned from sitting on the bench most of that season. I am able to transform feelings of
hesitancy and nervousness into that of confidence; I am a decision-maker, one who can remain
composed even when it seems to others that I stand on the brink of destruction.