One of the best decisions I ever made during my years at Catalina was joining the basketball team. Freshman year I tried out for the basketball team and was informed I had been placed on the Junior Varsity team while my best friend had made the Varsity starting lineup team. Without my best friend to lean on, I was forced to interact with my other peers and develop my own individual skills and build a stronger foundation on my fundamentals. These basketball fundamentals I applied to my academic work as well as my social life. So here’s what I have learned:
- Never give up. You don’t only have one shot at something. If you miss the basket you’ll be given another chance to try again if you have the strength to do so. Catalina has taught me this. So now when life, or the six-foot post on the Stevenson team, beats me down, I get right back up. That endurance, of being able to push past fatigue and pain to reach your potential, helped me overcome some of my hardest years academically and emotionally. Just like my coach always said, if you miss a basket or cause a turnover you should be the first one back on defense instead of feeling sorry for yourself. And that is exactly what I did on the court and academically. I let my bad grades fuel my ambitions to succeed, and I proved to myself and to my teachers that I was capable of earning higher than 75% on a test.
- Don’t plan it all out. Enjoy the ride. In basketball, we have many different plays against specific teams and different types of defense and offense. However, rarely do we as a team execute these plays perfectly. I’m not going to lie; most of the time we just hand the ball over to Audrey Bennett and let her dunk for us. But jokes aside, we still had a very successful basketball year this year despite our inability to run the correct plays. Similarly, we cannot plan out our future, we can only wait and see how they unfold and find the positives in our new path. I learned this lesson my sophomore year. After being told I was to stay on the JV team again I was frustrated that I had not proven to my coach my abilities and almost quit. However I pushed through and was made Junior Varsity Captain and awarded the most valuable player on the team. As the only sophomore, I was given the task of bossing around all the new little freshmen. Needless to say, I was not happy with the situation. However, if it weren’t for my coach placing me on JV again I wouldn’t have made the incredible friendships with the juniors and would never have met my beautiful ring sister. It taught me leadership skills, a role I had never played nor thought I could ever succeed in. Throughout the season we suffered from loss after loss, which frustrated me greatly, but I soon realized it wasn’t about the end result. It was the juniors who taught me it was about the team, not the game.
- The power of sisterhood. It wasn’t until Junior and Senior year that I learned the power of sisterhood. I found the power of sisterhood through my team. A team composed of freshmen through seniors from different places, religions, experiences, GPAs, and faces. When I look at my team, I see my sisters. I see a family and a home I know will always support me and I can always come back to. Yes, I see a team who accidently gives each other black eyes, can’t execute a play thoroughly, and cannot plan anything together and a team that didn’t make league. But I also see a family whose members are willing to drive 45 minutes to each other’s houses to celebrate a birthday, a family that lets you borrow their socks when you forget yours. I see a family that, even after basketball season is over, still has lunchtime meetings and still makes fun of our coach. A family that will probably still have that annoying group chat three years from now. A family that, when we couldn’t have our senior night, set up a last-minute dinner celebration.
This is the best gift Catalina has to offer; the gift of sisterhood and a second family. So If I had one thing to tell underclassmen, is to join a sports team, or do a show. Five, ten years from now, you won’t remember that project you got an A on, but you’ll remember that time your whole team piled into your coach’s car. You’ll remember the sisters you made and the memories you had with them.