My Experience with Basketball

My Experience with Basketball

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If you were to ask my friends what I love to do, my guess is that the majority of them would come up with this reply, "He loves to play sports". Sports are a big part of my life, and if I had to choose my favorite sport to play it would have to be basketball. I couldn't imagine going a week without being able to touch a basketball, and I thought I would never have to. But on one summer afternoon, that all changed when I broke my leg. It left me on crutches for two months, and not being able to play basketball all that summer. At first I thought it wouldn't be so bad, getting all the attention and sympathy from everyone. However, after one game I soon realized that I would do just about anything to get rid of those horrible crutches and get back on the court.
It was the start of summer 2002, and the Mid America Youth Basketball (MAYB) national tournament was taking place in Andover, Kansas. Along with the rest of the team, I was excited to play some basketball for the first time since the middle school basketball season was over. Our team, Carlon Oil, had been together and played every summer for the last four years. We were a really good team, with an overall record of 65-4 over those four years and were hoping to continue our legacy. Lonnie Lollar, our coach for the summer, was also the coach of our high school basketball team. I had a history of groin injuries, and every summer it seemed that I would have to sit out at least a game on the bench icing my groin. But this summer was different, and I along with everyone in the gym wouldn't have expected my summer to end with a injury such as a broken leg.
We arrived at the Andover High School main gym thirty minutes before the game and started to stretch.

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The buzzer rang and the five starters, which included myself, left the bench towards the middle of the court to start the game. "Green this way, gold that way" yelled the referee and the ball was thrown high into the air and the game had started. The first quarter went by fast and at the end of the period we were up 26-15 against the Andover Trojans. "Man my legs are sore from all this heat" I told Chip, one of my teammates as we were sitting on the bench waiting for the start of the second quarter. "I know, its has to be almost one hundred degrees in here" he told me. The buzzer rang and we all got up from the bench and walked out to the court. A couple of minutes went by in the quarter and we had a pretty big lead on the Trojans. The ball was passed in to Chip and I started to run down the court. I found myself open and started to yell for the ball. Chip threw the ball my way and I turned around to catch it and all of a sudden I heard a snap in my leg. With a thud I hit the ground and grabbed my upper leg in pain. I laid there for about a minute and then figured that I could get up and try to play. So I got up and started to limp to the middle of the court and instantly pain flew into my leg and I realized I had to come out of the game. The rest of the game I was forced to lay behind our team bench with an icepack taped to my upper leg. The whole time I was laying down the pain never went away, and after the game was over I still didn't have the strength to get up. My dad and coach Lollar had to carry me out to our car and I was driven to the ER to see how bad my leg was hurt. We arrived at the ER and were forced to wait almost an hour to get my leg checked out. When it was my turn, I was carted to the X-ray room were the doctor took about four to five X-rays to see if my leg was actually broken or not. When the doctor came out, he told us that it was indeed broken and that I would have to be sidelined for almost four months, the first two of those being on crutches.
During those two months on crutches my mind changed about the whole situation. At first I was looking forward to being on crutches, having people come up to me and ask me what happened, and sitting on the sidelines letting everyone get a glimpse of me being hurt. But after one game I soon realized that I hated being on crutches. It wasn't fun sitting on the sidelines watching my team have fun while I was stuck on the sidelines just cheering them on. I hated it, even with all the sympathy I received. I dreaded coming to the rest of the games that summer because I couldn't stand watching anymore. Sure, everyone I crutched by asked me what happened and how I was feeling. However, it got really old telling everyone the same things like "I broke my lesser trochanter" or "I'm out for the rest of the season". Every time I told someone what happened it just made me think about how much I missed playing and how much I wanted to get back to playing. I soon adopted the quote that the famous Michael Jordon once said when he was hurt, "My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn't stand the sideline".
Being away from the game you love can teach you things that you thought you would never learn. I learned that things happen that you might not always like, and sometimes you can't do anything but accept the fact that it happened. This applies not only to basketball, but also relationships, jobs, and life in general. Things don't always turn out the way you plan them to but that's part of life, and for the most part the things that make you weak make you stronger in the end. Because of what I went through, I'm more prepared for what can happen in the future. Being on crutches and going through the experience of sitting out and watching people play the game that I love made me realize you can't control everything and I can say that I've grown as an individual because of it.
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