by Stephanie Hankemeier
To say I miss playing basketball would be the biggest understatement of the year. Growing up on a basketball court changed my life in so many ways and absolutely contributed to the person that I am today.
1. Your teammates and coaches became family. You spent endless hours at weekend tournaments, between games, and at sleepovers with these girls. You shared everything about boys, your family, and all the drama from school.
2. It taught you about work ethic. You had some tough coaches, but the more they pushed you, the better you got. You may have even hated them at times, but looking back, they made you better on and off the court.
3. You learned that you are capable of so much more than you thought. You had no idea you would end up playing such a big role on your team.
4. You fell in love with the game at an early age. Even in elementary school, you and the girls would literally count down the days until game time.
5. You learned to be a better team member. On and off the court, you learned to work well with others and work toward team goals.
6. You mastered the mental battle. And now you apply it in your adult life. When you win games that everyone expects you to lose, there’s a confidence that stays with you for life. Your coach was right, the biggest battle really is in your head.
7. You loved playing in close games. This was the greatest rush you could ever experience.
8. The words “killers,” “burpees” and “get on the baseline” are significant. These still make your stomach turn.
9. But you kind of miss running killers, doing burpees, and getting on the baseline. You never thought you would actually miss that.
10. You love the smell of the gym. That familiar smell is forever engrained in your memory.
11. You still hug your coach. Whenever you see him/her as an adult, you can’t help but hug them tight. After all, they will never truly know how much you appreciate all the lessons and memories.
12. You were never alone. Being on a team meant you never went through anything alone.
13. You miss the friends you made. Whether it was on AAU teams or at summer basketball camps, you’ll never forget all the laughs you shared.
14. You feel empty without it. Every time you watch a game, you feel a pit in your stomach, because you miss it so much.
15. You remember the plays. You still remember some of the plays that you used to run.
16. You can use your left hand. The day you finally learned to use your left hand made you realize that you could do anything that you set your mind to.
17. You have scars. You’re proud of your basketball scars and you still smile when you see them.
18. You love the music. Your pre-game song still gets you pumped up.
19. You own medals and trophies. You still have all the medals and trophies that you won and they still make you proud.
20. You were a tomboy. You went through a tomboy phase and that little boy still lives in you to this day.
21. You have a favorite number. Your basketball number is still your favorite number.
22. You hate annoying parents. Who can forget the parents that yelled way too much and made the refs want to pull their hair out?
23. You miss home games. That feeling when the gym was packed and the cheers were loud will still give you goosebumps.
24. You own plenty of socks. All Nike everything.
25. You’re excited to have kids. The thought of watching your future kids play, and maybe even coaching them someday, makes your heart skip a beat.
by Stephanie Hankemeier