Freshman Basketball

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There were so many throwbacks this evening at my brother’s basketball game—being in my high school’s small gym once more, seeing faces of so many family friends I’ve missed so dearly, and traveling back in time to my own freshman days in that small gym.

I am by no means suggesting I played organized basketball in that gym for any credible organization, because trust me—that never happened. Many coaches wanted me to go out because I’m 5’10″ and they say you can’t teach height, but trust me—I’m the exception. By middle school, my coaches quickly changed their minds when they realized how unathletic I am (I’m still puzzled at how I’m decent at tennis… forever a mystery).

Anyway, attending the freshman basketball game tonight was odd. It took me back to the impossibly sweaty and impossibly small size of that gym. (It’s almost as if the air is salty and swampy in there. Is that even possible?) It took me back to the awkwardness of being a freshman in high school and the insecurities that come along with that. As a 15 year old in that place, I was insecure as all get out. I didn’t feel like I fit in with my peers because even at that age, I knew there was more—more than popularity or drinking or boys liking me.

I’m glad I went through that season, but I’m even more glad that it’s over (goodbye sweaty, salty, swampy small gym!). Because let’s be real—nobody peaks as a freshman in high school. That’s just the beginning of the journey; woop woop!!

As I sat between my grandparents in the gym, I felt more content than I have in a long time. I was watching my brother ball up, and I was welling up with pride. That’s my brother!! Number 14!! The one that rebounds like nobody’s business and strides with strength and purpose!! He amazes me. He is beyond gifted.

I was surrounded by wonderful families, and I began thinking back to my own freshman year in that gym when I watched the boys in my own class float up and down that same court. Thank goodness those years are gone—the compilation of sweaty, uncomfortable, awkward nights where nothing felt right and nothing felt normal.

But thank goodness they happened. I was sitting there tonight, and I was more sure of myself than I think I’ve ever been. I’m right where I need to be, and I don’t need to impress anyone or live my life for others’ approvals. I’ve come a long way from where I was four years ago, and I am proud. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, and I know that I’m definitely not an athlete. So now I get to admire and appreciate my brother’s gifts. I never thought I’d be saying this, especially not now, but thank goodness for freshman basketball and this moment of clarity.

PS: I may not be an athlete, but as hinted above, give me a tennis racquet, and I’ll give you a run for your money. xx

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