Seniors & Basketball

I don't really talk very much about myself. I am so busy with photo shoots, editing and two kiddos that there isn't really time, but after an insanely busy week, I am taking some time to tell you a little bit about myself: the old me, whose core is still there...just hidden underneath an extra padding of layers put on by stress . Let  me tell you about the love of my life (before I met my husband and had my kids.) We met at age 12. As soon as I felt that leather ball on my fingertips, I was hooked. And the sound of the swish of a perfect shot going through the net was the best sound on earth. I spent HOURS on the basketball court. After practice, before and after dinner. I would challenge my dad to a free throw contest after dinner ever night. Whoever lost would have to do the dishes. He knew he would lose, but he participated anyway. He got so tired of rebounding for me that he built me a net that would return the ball for me. I am a very shy person naturally, but when I played on the basketball court, I turned into a different person. I remember my college coach one time asking me, "What do they feed you guys in Cailifornia?  I played with every ounce of heart I had, and left it all on the floor. It was my identity for years, and when my playing career ended after college, I continued my  passion through coaching. What I loved most was teaching life's lessons. Any coach can coach the X's and O's, but not all can or are willing to teach the things that really mater. The things that carry over into real  life  like never giving up despite the odds, having a good attitude even when you are losing, being a team player and so many more. When I wasn't playing on the court, I was reading about it. One of my favorite books was "My Losing Season by Pat Conroy. I have included some quotes from his novel, because I think they are worth sharing. Where is this coming from? I was going through some senior pictures to work on my senior guide and I started thinking about the past and basketball... I still love basketball...Anytime I walk onto a court a flood of memories come back, but now that passion and heart has transferred over to my photography business. I love it. It consumes me. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose. I have made many mistakes, but have learned something valuable from everyone of them and that is what matters.   I am committed to becoming the best I can be. I am committed to growth and learning and perfecting my craft. My time isn't spent on the court anymore, it is spent on the computer learning, editing,sharing and out in the world, shooting some amazing seniors, like this one....Shelby. I don't think I shared these pictures from our senior shoot at the end of this last summer, and I thought this would be the perfect place.  

Excerpts from "My Losing Season"

"There was a time in my life when I walked through the world known to myself and others as an athlete.  It was part of my own definition of who I am and certainly the part I most respected." 

"When I was a young man I was well built and agile and ready for the rough and tumble of games, and athletics provided the single outlet for a repressed and preternaturally shy boy to express himself in public."

"Games allowed me to introduce myself to people who had never heard me speak out loud, to earn their praise without uttering a single word.  I lost myself in the beauty of sport and made my family proud while passing through the silent eye of the storm that was my childhood."

"But I was basketball player, pure and simple, and the majesty of that sweet sport defined and shaped my growing up.  I cannot explain what the sport of basketball meant to me, but I have missed it more than anything else in my life since it issued me my walking papers and released me to live out my life as a voyeur and a fan.  I was never a very good player, but the sport allowed me glimpses into the kind of man I was capable of becoming.   I exulted in the pure physicalility of that careless, ever-moving sport, and when I found myself driving the lane beneath the hot lights amid the pure electric boisterousness of crowds humming and screaming as a backdrop to my passion, my chosen game, this love of my life, I was the happiest boy who ever lived."

"Where did all those games go, the ones I threw myself headlong into as a boy, a rawboned kid who fell in love with the smell and shape of a basketball, who longed for its smooth skin on the nerve endings of my fingers and hands, who lived for the sound of its unmistakable heartbeat, its staccato rhythms, as I bounced it along the pavement throughout the ten thousand days of my boyhood?"

"Yet, a few of those lost games maintain their power to thrill me with their immediacy and import.  They take me back to a time when my life was pure action and my days passed among slashing elbows vying for rebounds coming off a clear glass backboard.  Every practice and game contained the possibility of bones being broken. From the time I was nine until the day I left college, my knees stayed scabbed and tender from my scrambling for loose balls."

"Because I was shorter than most college players, I tried to rule those lower regions, and when the ball hit the floor, it was mine, and too bad for you if you got in my way.  I substituted hustle for talent and the sure knowledge that if I did not want it more than my opponent, he would defeat and humiliate me with those gifts that nature denied me. What I had was a powerful will and a fiery competitiveness and the burning desire to be a great player in the Southern Conference when there was not even the slightest chance I could be a memorable one." 

"I desired greatness for myself and longed to be the best point guard who ever played the game"

"From my 9th to my 21st year, I lived with a basketball in my hand."

"I never left the court in my life after practice without making my last shot.  This was not a superstition; this was a discipline."

"The lessons I learned while playing basketball for the Citadel have proven priceless to me. My work ethic is credible and you can count on me in the clutch."

"I believe with all my heart that athletics is one of the finest preparations for most of the intricacies and darkness's a human life can throw at you.  Athletics provide some of the richest fields of both metaphor and cliché to measure our lives against the intrusions and aggressions of other people.  Basketball forced me to deal head on with my inadequacies and terrors with no room or tolerance for evasion."

"I never once approached greatness, but towards the end of my career, I was always in the game."

"Basketball was the only thing that granted me a complete and sublime congruence and oneness with the world.  I found a joy, unrecapturable beyond the realm of speech or language, and I lost myself in the pure, dazzling majesty of my sweet, swift game." 

"In this last year I would play organized basketball I came into my own as a player, not because of my team's success, but because of its crushing disappointments and failures.  I played the best basketball I ever played in the last half of what all remember as a jinxed and unprovidential season."

"I have loved nothing on this earth as I did the sport of basketball.  I loved to break up a full court press as much as any one who has ever lived and played the game…it was only when I had to give up basketball that I began to attract the unfavorable attention of the rest of the world."