Basketball: A freshman’s adventure on the court

Playing in a varsity girls’ basketball game is unexpected as a freshman with no previous experience. Starting a varsity game is even more unexpected. For my freshman season playing basketball, the unexpected happened.

When I joined Rowland Hall in eighth grade, I would have never expected to end my freshman year of high school as a “baller.” But a “baller” I would become as I chose to join the girls’ basketball team. Thanks to the fact that Rowland Hall is a 2A sports school, I was able to join the team confidently without having to worry about the strict tryouts and standards that are occasionally held at public schools. I was able to gain confidence, playing time, and new skills along with the 15 other girls I can now call family. Though our team might not contain the best basketball players in the U.S., who can sink 3-pointers from anywhere on the court, I wouldn’t trade anything for my freshman season on the Rowland Hall girls’ basketball team. The comforting environment that the team created was unmatchable; Arianna Ali, a freshman on the team, said, “My favorite memory with the team this season was definitely having those funny conversations in the locker room. Even if we were up by 10 or down by 15, we would always be laughing about something, the vibe was always great, and that was always something I looked forward to.”

 

 

The funny thing is, I would have never joined a new sport if it weren’t for the fact that Rowland Hall is a 2A school. Tryouts are scary, and so are coaches that make you do suicides until you feel like you have to throw up. Do you want to know one more thing that’s scary? Girls who are really good at basketball because they have been playing since they were three. At bigger schools, joining new sports is much more intimidating. Park City High School provides an example of this: Bella Caputo, a freshman who plays for Park City lacrosse, says, “The team has a lot of good girls, the best in the state, so it’s a little hard to fit in unless you’re popular and really good, plus they’re not very welcoming.” Imagine being a new player to Park City girls’ lacrosse team finding yourself criticized by other girls not only because of your lack of skill, but also your popularity or friend group, something you can’t control. Bella continues, “I don’t think I would recommend joining the team unless you have played for more than three years.” Thankfully, unlike at most public schools, tryouts, strict coaches, and scarily good girls aren’t part of the package when you sign up to play for Rowland Hall. Instead, as the first practice came around, I was met with understanding coaches, supportive teammates, and a place and community that I would find myself craving and excited for. Each day when I entered the gym, whether or not that was after the car rides that the upperclassmen would give me and my fellow lowerclassmen in which we’d belt out the lyrics to Zach Bryan and Kasey Muskgraves’ “Dawns” as we made our way to the McCarthey Campus for practice in the gym, I was able to forget the stress from the previous seven hours of school that I had just endured. Each day, basketball practice was my reset button, a place where I could forget everything else and work towards my newfound passion. Basketball was starting to become more than just a sport that would fill my sports credit necessary to graduate high school.

As the season progressed, the team did too. Although we weren’t winning most of our games, towards the end of the season, in January and February, anyone could tell the team was starting to mesh together and become a group that had trust and confidence in each other. With our small squad of 15 girls, we were able to get to know each other well past the first judgements of who we were going to have to fight for minutes on the court. A smaller team meant that we could have a string of players that trusted each other, that trust being gained through the out-of-practice excursions that the team would take to the bowling alley, ice cream shop, and cafeteria where we held a gingerbread making competition. When one of our seniors, a varsity starter, left the team and several of our other varsity starters endured injuries, junior varsity members were forced to play up to varsity, me being one of them. Although this might not seem like a big deal as we are only playing in high school and not the WNBA, it was for me, again, a freshman with no previous experience. But I shouldn’t have worried, because all of the trust that I was just talking about transferred into my first varsity game where I would shoot my first in-game free throw ever. I didn’t need to worry because I knew no matter the outcome, I would still love, respect, and appreciate my teammates, and they would still love, respect, and appreciate me.

 

 

I really am glad I joined the girls’ basketball team, despite the fact that it was a completely new sport I had no previous interest in. Among the many lessons that I learned through basketball—like the importance of learning various plays so that you won’t let your team down, the importance of communicating on the court so that our defense is effective, or the importance of playing hard in practice so that you get better but also so that your teammates get better—the biggest lesson I learned is that you must get out of your comfort zone to succeed and discover the things that you love. With teamwork being a main component of basketball, trust towards your teammates can’t be stressed enough, as Meg Hoglund, another freshman player, expressed when she said, “I have learned that showing up for your team really makes the difference in how the whole team executes at practice and in games.” Our whole season, the team worked tirelessly, whether that meant working on “form shooting” for more than 30 minutes at a time or writing down new plays over and over again until our hands crumpled; therefore, we all knew the importance of showing up for each other, no matter what.

If it weren’t for my spontaneous idea to join the Rowland Hall girls’ basketball team, I wouldn’t have been able to feel the incredible satisfaction of performing a layup from a fast-break down the court and scoring the game-winning point as the buzzer goes off, solidifying our victory. If it weren’t for my spontaneous idea to join the Rowland Hall girls’ basketball team, I wouldn’t have been able to form relationships with girls I would’ve never thought to be so amazingly compassionate and comedic. If it weren’t for my spontaneous idea to join Rowland Hall’s girls’ basketball team, I wouldn’t have been able to know what it’s like to truly be a baller.
 

Basketball: A freshman’s adventure on the court
Alexa Tracey

Playing in a varsity girls’ basketball game is unexpected as a freshman with no previous experience. Starting a varsity game is even more unexpected. For my freshman season playing basketball, the unexpected happened.

When I joined Rowland Hall in eighth grade, I would have never expected to end my freshman year of high school as a “baller.” But a “baller” I would become as I chose to join the girls’ basketball team. Thanks to the fact that Rowland Hall is a 2A sports school, I was able to join the team confidently without having to worry about the strict tryouts and standards that are occasionally held at public schools. I was able to gain confidence, playing time, and new skills along with the 15 other girls I can now call family. Though our team might not contain the best basketball players in the U.S., who can sink 3-pointers from anywhere on the court, I wouldn’t trade anything for my freshman season on the Rowland Hall girls’ basketball team. The comforting environment that the team created was unmatchable; Arianna Ali, a freshman on the team, said, “My favorite memory with the team this season was definitely having those funny conversations in the locker room. Even if we were up by 10 or down by 15, we would always be laughing about something, the vibe was always great, and that was always something I looked forward to.”

 

 

The funny thing is, I would have never joined a new sport if it weren’t for the fact that Rowland Hall is a 2A school. Tryouts are scary, and so are coaches that make you do suicides until you feel like you have to throw up. Do you want to know one more thing that’s scary? Girls who are really good at basketball because they have been playing since they were three. At bigger schools, joining new sports is much more intimidating. Park City High School provides an example of this: Bella Caputo, a freshman who plays for Park City lacrosse, says, “The team has a lot of good girls, the best in the state, so it’s a little hard to fit in unless you’re popular and really good, plus they’re not very welcoming.” Imagine being a new player to Park City girls’ lacrosse team finding yourself criticized by other girls not only because of your lack of skill, but also your popularity or friend group, something you can’t control. Bella continues, “I don’t think I would recommend joining the team unless you have played for more than three years.” Thankfully, unlike at most public schools, tryouts, strict coaches, and scarily good girls aren’t part of the package when you sign up to play for Rowland Hall. Instead, as the first practice came around, I was met with understanding coaches, supportive teammates, and a place and community that I would find myself craving and excited for. Each day when I entered the gym, whether or not that was after the car rides that the upperclassmen would give me and my fellow lowerclassmen in which we’d belt out the lyrics to Zach Bryan and Kasey Muskgraves’ “Dawns” as we made our way to the McCarthey Campus for practice in the gym, I was able to forget the stress from the previous seven hours of school that I had just endured. Each day, basketball practice was my reset button, a place where I could forget everything else and work towards my newfound passion. Basketball was starting to become more than just a sport that would fill my sports credit necessary to graduate high school.

As the season progressed, the team did too. Although we weren’t winning most of our games, towards the end of the season, in January and February, anyone could tell the team was starting to mesh together and become a group that had trust and confidence in each other. With our small squad of 15 girls, we were able to get to know each other well past the first judgements of who we were going to have to fight for minutes on the court. A smaller team meant that we could have a string of players that trusted each other, that trust being gained through the out-of-practice excursions that the team would take to the bowling alley, ice cream shop, and cafeteria where we held a gingerbread making competition. When one of our seniors, a varsity starter, left the team and several of our other varsity starters endured injuries, junior varsity members were forced to play up to varsity, me being one of them. Although this might not seem like a big deal as we are only playing in high school and not the WNBA, it was for me, again, a freshman with no previous experience. But I shouldn’t have worried, because all of the trust that I was just talking about transferred into my first varsity game where I would shoot my first in-game free throw ever. I didn’t need to worry because I knew no matter the outcome, I would still love, respect, and appreciate my teammates, and they would still love, respect, and appreciate me.

 

 

I really am glad I joined the girls’ basketball team, despite the fact that it was a completely new sport I had no previous interest in. Among the many lessons that I learned through basketball—like the importance of learning various plays so that you won’t let your team down, the importance of communicating on the court so that our defense is effective, or the importance of playing hard in practice so that you get better but also so that your teammates get better—the biggest lesson I learned is that you must get out of your comfort zone to succeed and discover the things that you love. With teamwork being a main component of basketball, trust towards your teammates can’t be stressed enough, as Meg Hoglund, another freshman player, expressed when she said, “I have learned that showing up for your team really makes the difference in how the whole team executes at practice and in games.” Our whole season, the team worked tirelessly, whether that meant working on “form shooting” for more than 30 minutes at a time or writing down new plays over and over again until our hands crumpled; therefore, we all knew the importance of showing up for each other, no matter what.

If it weren’t for my spontaneous idea to join the Rowland Hall girls’ basketball team, I wouldn’t have been able to feel the incredible satisfaction of performing a layup from a fast-break down the court and scoring the game-winning point as the buzzer goes off, solidifying our victory. If it weren’t for my spontaneous idea to join the Rowland Hall girls’ basketball team, I wouldn’t have been able to form relationships with girls I would’ve never thought to be so amazingly compassionate and comedic. If it weren’t for my spontaneous idea to join Rowland Hall’s girls’ basketball team, I wouldn’t have been able to know what it’s like to truly be a baller.
 

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