By Alexa Ard
Life is a game, and the lessons I’ve learned from playing basketball have helped me learn how to better suit up for it.
“I’ll bet you a nickel that you’re never going to hear from this man again,” one of my journalism professors said to me.
The source I was trying to contact didn’t answer the scheduled call to finish our interview about his role in his child’s life. I told my professor how the source acted in the first interview with answers often being “no comment” or “next question.” I had been trying to reach this man for the past three days, and the deadline for the story was approaching.
The professor said he wouldn’t be surprised if I never heard from that source again. I disagreed.
“What if he doesn’t want to talk to you?” my professor said.
“I don’t care,” I said to him. “He’s going to talk to me.”
I was determined. I wasn’t going to give up.
After the conversation with my professor, I left the classroom and sat down at the end of the hall. I decided to call the source again – probably for the third or fourth time in just the past few days.
If he answered the phone, I knew I’d have to interview him right then and there. Luckily, one of the rooms in the school was empty, and luckily, he answered. He only gave me 15 minutes though, which forced me to get to the uncomfortable questions quickly.
Sometimes in sports you’re forced into situations you just have to roll with. Look at Deonte Burton for instance. He had to lead grown men as the starting point guard in his freshman year at Nevada.
I ran into my professor as I walked out of the room after the interview.
“You owe me a nickel,” I said to him.
I had this same kind of drive last spring when I was trying to contact a source who was in jail.
Playing basketball is what gave me this tenacity. I’m sure almost every athlete has heard, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” That’s why you have to keep trying, like I had to keep calling.
So many life skills can be obtained from playing a sport.
Communication is a big one. Through the body language between my point guard and I — head motions or eye contact — we knew where the other one needed to be.
Losing games or missed shots represents how at some point, we’ll all experience failure. That hotheaded screaming coach or the teammate who’s the ball hog that you might have to deal with teach us we’re going to have to put up with difficult people. I used to have a coach who would turn red because he got so mad, and one time punched a wall.
The people that fill the bleachers are symbolic of how there’s always someone watching how you’re going to react to challenges or obstacles.
There’s always something you’re aiming for in sports to win – the basket, goal, touchdown, field goal, homerun. In life, there’s always something to strive for – a job, a promotion, a relationship, more friends, money, health, and maybe, most of all, happiness.