In sixth grade I remember when Mrs. Applewood made us write down one goal that we wanted to achieve. I quickly placed my freshly sharpened number 2 pencil on the blank, white sheet of paper and wrote down five, simple words- to be a state champion. As a little girl I had a lot of wants and dreams. I wanted my daddy to coach my sixth grade team, I wanted to win a state championship, and I dreamed of playing college basketball somewhere.
I was 12 years old when my daddy, Sean, coached myself and six other determined, dedicated girls to a Little League National Championship. I was 17 when I played for my first state championship in Wells Fargo Arena. We lost, but here I am one year later playing in another Iowa 4A championship. Everything from the hotdogs drowned in ketchup to the aroma of freshly blended strawberry smoothies smelt familiar. The sounds of my shoes squeaking on the freshly waxed floor also felt all too familiar. Unfortunately, I also felt the familiarity of us losing once again in the championship game. We were down two points with fifteen seconds left in the fourth quarter when Coach Carley called a time-out. He drew up a play on his white clipboard. To most people the minuscule x’s that represented my coach’s players wouldn’t have made any sense, but to me, Danielle Johnston, I knew exactly what those x’s meant, and I knew exactly what I had to do. When I looked up at the red and yellow ticking time bomb, I saw five seconds and I knew I had to score. I took two dribbles to the left, did a head fake, and then took one final dribble past the fiery orange jersey of the Carroll defender. As I planted my charcoal black Jordans just in front of the three-point arc, I was determined to make the game win...
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...s poured from my sorrowful eyes. They didn’t stop pouring from my eyes until Coach walked into my room with the ball that I played with during the National Championship. She said the team voted and they thought I deserved the ball. She handed me the ball along with something else. It was a letter from the Los Angeles Sparks, a WNBA team. Inside was a letter similar to the one I opened one year ago. They wanted me to play on their team, and I wanted to play for them too. There was just one problem; I could never play again.
As time went on, I look back on the years I played basketball and I smile. I smile, because I know I made two out of my three goals happen. I made 66.7% of my goals happen. In basketball if you shoot 66.7% you had a pretty good game. So I would say I had a pretty good basketball career, and I am excited to flip the page to a new chapter in my life.
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