I always wanted to play basketball professionally, always. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would be the next Lisa Leslie, except for me being short, white and playing in the NBA of course. There has never been a time when I didn't wish I could play. "I just want to play," is the only words my coaches would hear me say. I wanted to be the girl who could beat all the boys and play some ball. And not just the regular old basketball where you dribble up the court and shoot, but I wanted to be the girl who went between her legs, around the back, "broke ya ankles" and layed it up between 3 different defenders.
I have always played basketball. I played in my church league when I was only 6 years old and on any and every team I could. During one game with my church league, my team was able to play in the Reunion Arena in downtown Dallas.
I was so excited I could play on the floor that the Dallas Mavericks played on. I walked on the same floor as my idol, number 4 Michael Finley, the greatest player on the Mavs, and one of the best clutch shooters in the game. When I was little, he was everything to me.
The game on that court was the best ever. I was on the sidelines and we were losing when one of my teammates looked at me and said "Man, we really need you out there." I will always remember that. It was the first time I ever thought I could play ball forever, even though I was only 6 or 7 years old. It was the first time someone other than my dad had complemented me on my skills. I mean dads are supposed to say you're good so I never believed him. But when this one kid said that he thought I should be playing when we were losing, I was so flattered and so overwhelmed. That moment will always be very special to me.
In 6th grade, at The North Hills School, I tried out for our school team. Only four 6th graders and three 7th graders were trying out, the rest were all 8th graders. I thought for sure that the whole team would be 8th graders. They were all taller and more experienced. They had more years of training and coaching than everyone else. I was so hyped up and wanted to prove to everyone that I could play, and not just play but play well. During try-outs, everyone was split up into teams and we scrimmaged. I started out with the rest of the underclass men but then our coach moved me to playing with the older 8th graders. I thought that maybe I actually had a chance at making the team. I made a fool of myself trying to get a rebound on the first play and thought for sure coach would move me back with the underclassmen. Luckily she kept me on and I kept going. I made a couple good plays and was so ecstatic.
The day came when we had to go see coach so we could find out if we had made the team or not. I walked into her office and sat down. I was so worried that she was going to cut me. I thought that she could never want a small, short and skinny 6th grader on her team. She started to talk and all I could think about was how I was going to get cut. All of a sudden I looked at her and she told me she wanted to keep me. All then I could think was, "Oh my god, oh my god, I made it! I made it!!!" I left her room and ran all the way to my friends. I jumped on top of them laughing and with the biggest smile of all on my face. They had to have known I made the team with just that. I mean come on, what else was I to be happy about, my homework? I have made the basketball team ever year I have tried out. But now I have a different dream. Instead of winning and being the best as a player, I believe I am here to coach and to teach players how to win and how to achieve their personal best. I was given the chance to coach my school's freshman team but that meant giving up playing on varsity. Playing on a 5A varsity basketball team is one thing I have worked towards all my life. Giving it up was a big deal, but I realized it was for the best, so I did. I talked to my coach and I told her that, "I really feel as if I am meant to coach, I can't help but help others and try to make them better in every way. All I want to do now is make someone who I know can be great, great. I want to help someone else achieve their best." ***This essay is an account of my life and is written by me.