The Best Summers of My Life


     Have you ever heard the phrase, “you don’t know you’re in the good ole’ days until you’re out of the good ole’ days”?  That phrase was found true by my teammates and me this summer as we played our final tournament together.  


     For the last eight summers of my life I have had the opportunity to play basketball each summer.  I would travel around the state and even go out of state playing in high school gyms, college gyms, fieldhouses, Boys and Girls Clubs, and even Convention Centers where 80 mobile courts were set up.  I did this to compete against players that tested my ability.  Although sometimes they were better than me, it helped form me into a better all-around player.  I learned how to beat a faster and more athletic player, while staying true to my game and the playstyle I play with.  On the flip side, I was able to transform my playstyle when going against a bigger and stronger player.  During school ball I will see both types of players.  Hopefully what I learned over the summers will transfer over to my last season of high school basketball.  Our team won countless medals and awards but the true reward was improving my game and making lifelong friendships.  


     My team was not like any other normal AAU travel team.  We were not a bunch of random players thrown on a team for one summer with no chemistry and no defense being shown.  Due to the fact of many of us playing together for years on end, we were able to beat teams that really we shouldn’t have beaten.  Our teamwork and the chemistry and rhythm we all had with one another was unmatched by any team.  The chemistry the team had came from the friendships and bonds we built through the years.  Improving my skill and game may even be the least important thing I got from those eight summers.  The friendships we formed will last a lifetime.  The off court memories are just as sentimental as the on court memories.  The fun we had at team dinners, hotel rooms, car rides, practices, and pool parties holds a closer place in my heart than the time on the court.  


     None of the last eight years would have been possible without my coach giving the chubby, slow, fourth grader a chance.  Through these years Coach Tom invested countless hours in practice, at games, and researching the best tournaments for us to play in.  He found a way to light a fire underneath my butt to get the best out of me.  He is the reason for my ball handling skills as we did endless drills to perfect the basics.  His instruction on attacking bigger, stronger players in comparison to attacking the quicker, more athletic kind helped mold me into the defensive player that I am today.  Offensively, he instilled confidence in me that I struggled to find and this helped me to be more aggressive and do what was needed to help the team.


     I will forever be grateful for Coach Tom, my forever friends I made, and the families that have blessed me over these years that went by too fast.