I love running. That’s for sure. I run everywhere.
And I also love playing footy. But when footy was over at the end of winter, I needed something else to keep me active. Mum and Dad said I couldn’t just sit around all spring and summer, so I had to decided what else to do. (That’s one of the downsides of being an only-child – your parents constantly think you need to be doing group activities with other kids to keep you interested and amused!) I considered athletics, but I don’t like having to throw stuff, like shotput and javelin. I just like the running bit, so in the end I didn’t think that would work out too well. I also thought about tennis, but it’s not much of a team sport and, kind of boring if I’m honest, so I gave that a miss. I finally settled on basketball.
The thing is, all the cool kids have been playing basketball since the first year of school, so I’m well aware I’m a bit behind. But, my skills with a ball are pretty awesome if I say so myself, because of my footy training. So I didn’t think it would be too hard to catch up and get into one of the good teams.
Boy was I wrong.
The basketball boys are all really sporty and really kind of like a gang. They have the same brand of special basketball boots – all bright coloured laces and awesome. They all have the same haircut too. AND they seem to have the same weird special language they use on the court, including cool nicknames for each other. Of course, they’re also ALL really good at basketball. I did not fit in. At all.
And they let me know it.
I really worked hard at training, to understand the rules and to get better at my skills. I had to work on the ‘travelling’ rule, because in footy of course you can run with the ball for a bit before you have to get rid of it – it’s nowhere near the same in basketball, ’cause you only get two steps! I also had to be reminded a thousand times NOT to touch someone when they had the ball, but instead to just try touch the ball – tackling is NOT a thing in basketball and I got ‘fouls’ called on me all the time.
My shooting wasn’t too bad – once I actually got the ball – but the other guys didn’t pass it to me very often because I guess I was ‘unknown’ and ‘unreliable’. It makes it pretty hard to get better at it and get them to trust me though, when they don’t pass it to me so I can prove it.
They kept making rude comments about me, but just quietly enough so the coach couldn’t hear. It was pretty clear that they didn’t want to help or have me on their team. I think they were happy having their gang of 6 and really didn’t want any extras that they had to prop up or cater for.
So it’s been a slow and frustrating start to my basketball career, if I’m honest. I’m no Michael Jordan or LeBron James, that’s for sure. But I reckon I could be if I was given half a chance. I know I’ve got good ball skills and can run really fast – I just need to learn the rules better and become part of a team. But as it is, I kinda feel like I don’t want to go back next week and play, because it makes me upset being treated like the dumb new kid all the time. I’m used to being pretty good at sports and this is annoying me.
I told Mum about it and she of course was mad that I was being treated so meanly by these kids. She also then did her usual thing of giving me some wisdom that I could either take on board or ignore. She told me that anything worth having is worth working for, and that if I believed I could, I should!
I’m never going to get any better if I don’t go back and try again, right?
(Persistence, p.57, Bullies, p.17, Faith in your Ability, p. 27 – A for Attitude)