A goal or challenge in my past that required perseverance and determination to accomplish would have to be my high school basketball career. My basketball career did not start out as one would have dreamt of growing up in a small town in the basketball rich state of Indiana.
In Indiana, basketball is like a second religion. I grew up idolizing my uncle, whom played for the high school that I would eventually attend. I would run around my grandmothers house acting out my fantasies of winning the sectional championship. My grandmother and mother would play the school fight song as I made my entrance into the make shift basketball arena, that was my grandmothers kitchen. Many memories were made for me and my family during that time.
As I got older, the time came for me to put in the work to make my goals and dreams come to fruition. I started out playing basketball at the local YMCA. I was not the best player on the team but I no doubt was one of the hardest workers on the court. YMCA basketball did fair so well for me as I was one of the smallest and slowest kids on the team. I was what one would call a bench player. I didn’t get much playing time and when I did it was because everyone had to play a certain amount of minutes per game. This was disheartening to me as my hopes and dreams seem to be all for not.
Next up was grade school basketball. In grade school I actually started on my team and was one of the better players. However, when it came time to choose the all start team, I once again was relegated to the bench warmer. It seemed no matter how hard I worked and no matter how much time and dedication I put in, I was never going to be good enough.
Finally high school had arrived. I attended many basketball camps to better prepare me for the all might IHSAA basketball. As a freshman, I started the season on the B team. By mid-season I was a starter on the A team. My hard work and determination was finally paying off. By seasons end I had been moved to the Junior Varsity team. As a freshman this was a huge honor. Although I did not see much playing time at that level, I was determined to keep working hard and earn my stripes. Towards the end of the season my hard work had finally paid off. On a normal day of practice everything was going as normal until one instance changed my whole outlook on my basketball career. The varsity basketball coach was calling for me in his office. I was excited, terrified of this meeting. What was he going to do? Send me back to the freshman team, tell me I wasn’t cutting it and they had made a mistake by promoting me to the Junior Varsity? My head was racing with a million thoughts.
The moment of truth had arrived. He asked me to have a seat. As my legs trembled and sweat poured down my face he said, “Josh, you have been working really hard these past few weeks and I want you to dress for the homecoming game this Saturday.” I think I stopped breathing for a minute at that moment. I could not believe what I had just heard. Was this really happening to me? Did my coach really just ask me to dress for Varsity as a freshman? This was unheard of for a freshman to be playing Varsity basketball. My hard work and dedication that I had put in since playing this whole scenario out in my grandmothers kitchen was finally going to come true. I didn’t even care if I played a single second of that game, just being on the floor in that atmosphere was going to be the highlight of my year.
Finally, it was the day of the game. While in the locker room listening to coach give his speak, he was writing the names of the starters on the chalk board. A heart attack was about to happen and I didn’t even know. He had written my name on that chalk board as a starter for that nights game. It was the single best night of my life up to that point.
I was not the best basketball player growing up but with my dedication and perseverance I overcame many obstacles to achieve a goal that I set for myself since I was a little boy.