Resilience. This word will now forever be what comes to my mind every time I play this game I love. My 2020-21 season was one I will never forget. My coach had emphasized so much how we would need to be focused on being resilient through our season. She wanted all of us to be determined to refuse to give up. She wanted us to face all the adversity of playing a season none of us could really prepare for because of the Covid epidemic head on. Being resilient and fighting through adversity seemed to be what was focused on so much the words started to run together for me. We had to fight with the school board really hard to even get to play the season. Fortunately our season was only pushed back until January. Once our season started we went through 2 quarantines that restricted us from playing big key games on our schedule. We all really felt the hopes of getting to play out a whole season by each other’s side for our seniors slowly fading away and little did I know I would also find my own even greater resilience and strength to overcome personal adversity that ended up happening with myself.
My 2020 AAU season ended for me having as much confidence than ever, I had put a lot of time in improving my game all around and looking forward to begin to practice for the new school year. When preseason began I really started seeing the impact of the work I was putting in and was bringing onto the floor for my team, everything was going so great- until it wasn’t. I started to feel really off, I would get dizzy and find it difficult to focus at practice because of how exhausted I felt. I had told my mom many times something is not right, however because I didn’t show any visible signs of anything and had been playing so much ball she felt it may just be exhaustion or lack of something my body needed so we just tried to resolve it on our own. I would sleep so much when I wasn't practicing and still felt so tired all the time and knew it was more than from practicing so much. After about a month into preseason practices I was still feeling pretty bad and really struggling she finally took me to see my doctor. She had ran several different test on me but couldn’t find the answer, it wasn’t until I become ill with a really bad sore throat as a symptom she then tested me for and was positive with Mono. I had it while practicing for almost a month when it was discovered. At that point I was told l could not play basketball for two weeks and as an athlete I was heart broken, that’s the last thing I wanted to hear. The two weeks turned into being sidelined for a month and a half. All I could do was watch my teammates, join in on things virtually and cheer them on. Mentally, I was set back by this and began to feel useless and insignificant as a role player because I couldn’t play and contribute for my team. It took a big toll on me, I was still out at the start of season, not able to play for our first 3 games. When I finally had been cleared to play I wasn’t the same player as I was during preseason. I was out of shape, I couldn’t get my shot to fall, felt timid and weak from being out so long and lost all confidence in myself. My coach kept telling me it would be ok keep fighting to break through like I'd been doing before I got sick, to be resilient.. but at that time because depression had start to sit in some I didn’t truly understand what that meant, to be resilient during that time.
So, with the continued support of my teammates and coaches I started to begin feeling like I was getting back to the player I had been before getting sick. Then, adversity hit again. Almost 3 weeks into playing I tested positive with Covid-19. I had been sidelined again, out another 3 weeks in which also put my whole team in quarantine, I felt so bad because I cost our team to not be able to play any games scheduled during that time. I ended up getting very sick with it because my immune system was still weak recovering from mono. I couldn’t do many things on my own and at one point my condition really started to scare me. Thankfully, I got through it and was at the end of protocol and was going to get to start playing again, the day of my first game back coach texts us that we are shutdown again, another teammate tested positive with Covid-19. I felt so much hurt and my heart was in pain because this game is a happy place for me, especially during the times we’ve been going through. My heart was heavy thinking it will now be another two weeks to get to play again, that it was going to be a total of almost 2 months before I got to be on the court again. I couldn’t comprehend why all this was happening to me and my team. All that would go through my mind is what's it going to take to get through this and make it to our main goal of making it to State this year.
Once I was finally back to playing I found myself struggling with the after affects of Covid and having a hard time to play as hard as I usually could. My coach took notice to this and has a heart to heart talk with me about my production and we both agree I was struggling to play to my highest potential and my starting spot needed to go to someone else until I could produce to my potential. As a player that’s one thing you pride yourself to work for and never want to happen . However, I owned it and I put it on my shoulders and I worked harder than ever to get back to playing my game. As a team, after our second quarantine, we realized there was a silver lining to all the adversity we had been going through in just how much we wanted to finish the season strong and what it would take to get our goal and that is exactly what we did! By the end of regular season, I had back all my confidence and then some, I no longer felt timid or scared. We went on to win our district, and then won our first regional title in 24 years and made the State tournament. Through all the adversity I had experienced in this season I finally understood what it meant to be resilient, that no matter how hard things try to bend you to break you keep resilience to fight for what you want and it will happen. Give your best self. That experience is what I will think about from now on when things get hard, is the resilience it takes as a team, teammate and personally to get through adversity; to be your best self. The definition of resilience to me is having a mindset to put everything you have in you no matter how hard it is, to hit adversity head on with your head high and adjust to and overcome challenges to make you stronger. I learned this past season what it takes to fight through adversity, and I (we) came out victorious. This past season definitely taught me a lot about myself and a life lesson I’ll never forget.