So remember that time I told you all about how my college basketball career flopped (yea what happens when a dream is deferred). My whole life up to this point was geared towards making history of being the first woman in the NBA (a real life Monica from Love and Basketball). I had prepared and trained for this moment my entire life and now my dream became reality when I packed my bags and went to college to be a part of the Women’s Basketball Team. Hype was not even the word; I was like a celebrity the last day of High School “don’t forget about me when you make it big!” (I'll try not to......).
But once I stepped on campus and we had our first 5:45 am pre-season session things got real……REAL QUICK! (I really think I saw a sign that said welcome to hell...... all jokes aside). I was shortest thing on the court standing tall at 5’3, I wasn’t fast, or the strongest, and confidence wasn’t the best but I had DRIVE. The season started and the end of the bench became my best friend. To see your dream being played out right in front of your face but slipping out of your hand will either make you work harder or drop the ball. And once this situation started to unfold the choice was made……
The team was preparing to travel to East North Carolina to take on one of our conference rivals Elizabeth City State University. This just wasn’t any ole school rivalry but a statement game. You see our Head Coach previously coached there before she came to our school. She wasn’t about to go to her old stomping grounds and lose. You could sense it in the air without even looking at the schedule to know that the game was coming up. The upper classmen warned us that practice was about to became OD! Got to make that free throw, every lay-up counts, nope that play wasn’t ran right get on the LINE! (I get tired by just talking about it).
Before practice started Coach gathered the team on the bleachers for an announcement. “I know y’all know about the show Making The Band, well we going to have Making The Team.” Whaaaaa? But I’m already on the team doe what you talkin’ about Willis? Coach went on to explain that we had 18 people on the roster but she would only be taking 14 to travel. Ok, BET! My main focus was to make it on the bus, I didn’t care how hard I had to work but I was going to be riding out of Charlotte when the day came. I went in HARD all week, chasing down every loose ball, hustling on every sprint, making sure that I knew every play for every position. Shawty got it in!
The big day came. Coach was going to tape a piece of paper on her door with all the names that would make the bus. Many of my teammates didn’t even bother to look as they already knew that their name would be there. On the outside, I was playing it cool joking around per usual but on the inside, I was two seconds from losing it (literally I think I had to put my heart back inside of my chest it was beating so hard). T
hen I told myself I worked hard this week how could I not be on the list? I scanned to see what was on there…Jasamine Hill…….Jasamine Hill…..Jasamine Hill….nope no Jasamine Hill. I even took three looks to ensure that I wasn’t trippin’. The moment that I had dreaded was here. I was defeated but I couldn’t let my emotions show I had to be strong until I was finally alone.
I went back to my dorm room let a couple tears drop and then wiped my face no more feeling sorry for myself the next time I would make it on that list to travel. The team pulled out to head to ECSU and those of us left behind had one thing to accomplish while they were gone; shoot 100 shots and text the assistant coach once it was complete. They didn’t have to tell me twice I pulled out the shooting machine and shot way more than the minimum, leaving the gym satisfied with my new desire and that I had wiped the slate clean; it was GO time! As I texted the Assistant Coach on my way back to my dorm, there was a new found confidence that I knew would translate to the court.
Well that was until the team returned…….
Well after I sent the text, the message was given to my Head Coach she then stood up in front of the whole bus and said “Coach got a text today from Jasamine Hill that said Coach I shot my shots today….I can respect that, ya see Jas tryna get on da bus……” Even though I’m sure she tied it in with a great motivational message about determination….my teammates on the other hand thought it was a perfect sitcom moment (seriously they are still cracking jokes about it 9 years later…..).
Just like that my launching pad had failed to take off. I was now the laughing stock of the team. And don't get me started on my confidence. I felt as if all of my hard work had went to waste. That would be the last time that I would attempt to go the extra mile because of the FEAR of being the headline of a comedy stand up featuring me and my efforts. And slowly but surely this was the beginning of me dropping the ball on my life long dream.
Take a look at your life, it may not be basketball but maybe a business idea, a guy you’re interested in, or even going back to school. When we allow other people’s opinions and their reactions dictate how we respond we will settle rather than go after our heart’s desire. All because of one thing….the FEAR that was connected to the action. Until the FEAR is overcome (what people will say/how they will treat you) you will continue to come up short and almost only works in playing horseshoes. Reflecting on it I would've told my younger self what's more important YOU or WORDS.........