As a child growing up in a mentally abusive, addiction ridden, chaotic environment full of codependency, drama, and instability… I turned to basketball as my temporary refuge. I recall the second I would jump out of the car with my gym bag to run into the gym for practice; happiness consumed me. The days when I had a game right after school, I excelled in classes, because I was fueled with energy; in hope that the game would come sooner. My security came from not being home. Instead, security for me came from the court; from the layup or three-point shot I mastered; from the locker room; for each bead of sweat falling off my chin.
The moment you walk on the court – you become a team. Regardless of friendship with the other girls or drama outside the sport. My place of refuge was the family I shared with my teammates on the court. Where we all become equally important. Where there is no chaos because we are in control of the floor. There are no addictions other than winning as a team and performing to best of our ability.
I realized as I write this, how easy it is to forget the simplest things that we used to love. For me, it is the feel of a brand-new basketball. The sound of the ball bouncing off the backboard. Braking in new shoes. Diving for a ball and sliding across the floor. The thrill of stealing the ball. Having all eyes on you while you are at the free-throw line. The screeching noise of shoes catching traction on the floor…
A teammate giving you a high-five and saying “Good Job”.