Georgia Nelson// Columnist
I began playing basketball at the age of eight and participated in local club teams such as Steve Nash and 3D, which is where I came to love the sport. It wasn’t until I was in the eleventh grade that I thought I had a chance of playing on a university team. Now in my third year at Capilano University, I’m a proud member of the Blues. My sister was a significant influence in my life that made me want to play for the Capilano Blues. She had previously played four years for the team, and watching her succeed in her basketball career inspired me to strive for the next level. So in grade twelve when I was offered a spot on the women’s team, I couldn’t wait to get started and continue playing after high school.
Beginning my first year as a Blues athlete was very exciting. I was taking classes that were interesting to me and finally practicing with the basketball team after waiting all summer long. Practices were hard at first in the transition from the high school level to a University team. But as the days went on, I began to adjust. When November came around, I was excited for our games to begin, but it was also hard to adjust to the new level. I slowly realized how difficult it would be to keep up with the schoolwork that seemed endless, and basketball that was pushing my physical limits every day, despite how exciting it was.
I began to exhaust myself trying to keep up with the high expectations I had set and ended up not doing well in either basketball or school. Further into the season, I stopped seeing the floor. It was hard to deal with as it was what I’d been preparing myself for since high school. I found myself in a cycle where I would work as hard as I could at practice, lift weights in my spare time, and when I got home I would be too tired to do my homework or finish assignments on time. My grades struggled that year, and my confidence went down with them.
Going into my second year, I practiced all summer working towards my goal of becoming a better player and doing well in school. I gained some of my confidence back, but at the first sign of failure, I crumbled like a cookie. They were small mistakes due to immaturity and simply not knowing the game as well as I thought I did. These stemmed from not being able to trust myself with my own ability to play the game. If I couldn’t trust myself, how could my coach?
I had to figure out a way to drive myself out of my own pit of despair and lack of confidence. Failure was a key factor in what I used to fuel my energy and the effort that I put into practice. You can look at failure as a negative aspect of any sports career, but from being a Capilano Blue on the women’s basketball team, I have learned to use failure as a battery pack that I charge every day to make myself better. My teammates have also taught me about the positive side of failure. They always encourage me after a missed shot or if I get frustrated to not bring myself down and to keep going. The word “failure” may have a negative connotation, but to me, it’s a learning tool to make myself better in the long run.
Now in my third year, coming off a summer session of intense training, I entered the season with a different mindset than in previous years. I have more trust in myself to play to the best of my ability. There may still be times when I slip up, but I know my new mindset is a step in the right direction. I hope I have given my coach enough trust in me to perform well on the court again. And now, I am ready to chase after another provincial title with my amazing team in hopes of representing the Blues at Nationals.