Friday, November 16, 2012

Not 'Just a Game'

vs. Pau

  There are times when I think that I take basketball too seriously. That I need to lighten up, and not let what's happening on the court affect my life off the court. There are many more life-pressing issues in the world to worry about than how the ball is bouncing. It's just a game after all, right?

  But for me, it's much more than that. And it always has been. 

My Job
  Basketball is my job. And basketball is the sole reason I am where I am in this world.

  If it weren't for basketball, wouldn't be anywhere near Europe. I'd be in the US, working, living my life there, doing who knows what, who knows where.

  I'm not here to sight see and travel. I'm not here to experience the culture. I'm not here to learn a new language. While those are added benefits to the job, the sole reason I am in Europe, is to play basketball. And to play it well.

  When basketball is going well, I may find time to do those other things. But when it's not going well, I could care less.

  Call it having a one-track mind.

  Yes, I enjoy being abroad. Living in a different country, and experiencing different cultures and ways of life. I would not trade my experiences with anyone. But if I was not getting paid to play basketball, I would not be here.

A Visitor
  I do think it's different, being a foreigner in another country, playing professional basketball than it is being a pro, playing in your native country. One is not necessarily easier than the other. It's just reality.

  When you're 'home', you have more distractions -- more outlets. Friends, family, everyday life, familiar surroundings.

  I am a visitor here. When things don't go how I want them to go on the court, I have fewer outlets, away from the game, than those players who are home.

  For example, Sunday morning, after a game, you wake up, and everyone back home is sleeping. It's the middle of the night. So you try to find other ways to occupy your mind and your time. But for me, many times -- especially after a tough game -- my mind goes right back to basketball.

  So yes, you can feel isolated. 

Losing Never Sits Well
  No matter where I am -- home, Oregon, Colorado, France, Sweden, Italy -- you'll never find me smiley and happy after a loss, or after a particularly bad practice. Losing, and playing poorly puts me in a bad mood. Sorry.

  And it takes playing well, and winning, to get me out of that funk. What can I say, I'm a bad loser.

  Maybe that's not the right way to react to losing, but that's me. Maybe it isolates me even further, or puts more pressure on me. But it's what I need.

How I Got Here
Yeah, I take basketball seriously.
  Taking basketball seriously is what got me here in the first place.

  It was coming home right after school, and going straight to the gym. It was absolutely hating to lose, so much so, that I couldn't sleep. It was spending the majority of my summer's working on my game and my conditioning. It's going to bed a little earlier than you want because you have practice the next morning. It's getting extra treatment so you're feeling 100% when it's time to play.

  I've never lost that attitude, and I don't expect to anytime soon.

  My point is, that's who I am. Why would my attitude about basketball change now? Like you, I take my job seriously. And I want to do it well.

  So while I might think, 'sheesh Sabrina, don't take things so seriously', I can't.


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