Duke's Diary: What's Your Why?

When did you begin your journey?

Some of you started as little as 3-4 years old and had no clue of what you were getting into. Someone bought a toy ball and then it hit the floor. BOUNCE! BOUNCE! It looked cute and fun, right? I am sure it was. Everyone was saying "Look at little Johnny!" or "Look at little Becky having fun!" Then you saw a TV commercial or a game. There was some epic event that sparked your interest.

Then you grew as a child and got involved with youth sports and happened to just gravitate to the game we all love...BASKETBALL. Go figure, huh? It started at a young age for me because my mom just wanted to get me involved with a youth sports organization for me to have something to do.

Team sports builds character and gets you involved with other kids with the same interest. We all know the real reason: Momma wanted to see her baby out on the court. I use to play basketball all over my neighborhood and she figured I really liked the sport. So she decided to get me the proper fundamental skills to excel at the sport. She wanted to better me and wanted me to be the best. Yep, my mom signed me up. A superstart was born! LOL.

Point I am trying to make is WHY! What is your reason for playing the game you say you LOVE. My WHY was the competition, love, fun and the challenge. It changed over the years but those reasons were the core.

Fun was a huge reason I played the sport. It's an amazing sport to play and great exercise. It's one of the only sports you can play with friends or all by yourself. Have you ever played an imaginary basketball game by yourself? Have you ever rolled up a pair of socks and took a wire clothes hanger, formed it into a circle, hung it up at the top of the bedroom door and played a game in your bedroom? Fun times! Have you ever played basketball on a milk crate? We used to have a full court in our friend's back yard and we had NBA-type 7-game series, all for the love of the game. Love and fun was the biggest WHY for me.

Many of today's youth are playing because someone told them that they would be good at the sport. They are not playing because they love the game. Some of the youth are playing because they really enjoy the game. They work at the fundamentals and strive to be very good at it. Some people see dollar signs at a young age andt hey push their kids to play the game. You also have some kids playing because their PARENTS are living their dream through their child and they push them to play the sport. I have seen the parents push the kid so hard that they don't event want to play the game of basketball anymore. Sad, but it's true! Many kids play basketball because of its visbility to everyone. It's a universal sport that is easily recognizable. Let's face it: many of us want to be seen doing something spectacular. Basketball is a great avenue. Besides, it's the best game on the face of the earth.

I want to stress the importance for all young participants of the sport to sit back and maybe write down your WHY. Why do you play basketball? You may have a moment where you realize why you put in the hours to be good. It is a time to self-reflect on how and why you even got involved with the sport. Time to see the true and real reason why you have suffered through the blood, sweat and tears of the daily grind to be the player you are.

Basketball has created some awesome individuals along the way. It has also eaten up a lot of individuals as well. Maybe becasuse they did not know the reason WHY they were involved in the sport. I do know this for sure. The ball will stop bouncing for us all one day. We will become an ex-basketball player. Once that happens you will have to know WHY you are involved for sure, so why not figure it out today?

What's your WHY?

Use basketball, don't let it use you!

Peace until next time...

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