Who Am I

Cassie, Upper High Schooler

As a home schooled student, I have often experienced social rejection. As a child I didn’t understand why I wasn’t excepted by other children my age, and I was very dismayed about this for many years. As I grew older I learned that there were more important things in life than social acceptance. Playing sports as a child and young adult has gradually built up my confidence and taught me leadership, respect, and a good work ethic. As I have grown, up I have carried this knowledge to other aspects of my life.

I played basketball in the local little dribblers league through the sixth grade, but going into the seventh grade I was no longer eligible. I had to find somewhere else to play. Thankfully, my mom had heard about Live Oak, a private school that permitted homeschooled students to play sports for them. I was nervous about playing for a new team, but excited about the opportunity. I enjoyed my two years of junior high basketball vastly, and I really started to show potential. My first year of high school basketball I clashed with my two coaches and most of my teammates, so that season was especially stressful. At the end of that season, in spite of everything, I managed to make first team all-state. I was proud of my accomplishments until later that summer when I started playing select basketball. I discovered that I had a lot of catching up to do, mentally and physically. I trained and practiced hard, but I always felt that my skill level was not yet up to par.

When school started that fall, I began taking co-op classes. For once, I didn’t feel out of place or rejected. I felt more accepted than ever. When basketball season started, I wasn’t going to let bad coaching or unfocused teammates keep me from accomplishing my goal of winning state. I wasn’t popular amongst my teammates, mostly because I was so focused on winning. Mid-season our coach, who wasn’t an exceedingly knowledgeable basketball coach, had to quit. With a completely different mindset of winning, the athletic director of the school became the new head coach. The new Coach and I developed a very close relationship. He pushed me to be a better player as the season went on. The first game in the state tournament my team and I beat our district rivals to get to the state championship game. Tragically, we lost the championship game by one point. I took the hit of the loss deeply; coach was the only one who kept me from completely breaking down. Despite his support, I still fell into a deep depression. I had failed myself and my team.

I went into the summer season focused on excelling my game and becoming a smarter player. I improved over the summer, but when fall came around the private school that I had played with for the past 4 seasons was changing their rules. Home schooled students would no longer be permitted to play for them. Once again, I would have to find a new place to play. At the last minute, my dad rediscovered a home school athletic organization who would permit me to sign with them. Fortunately, God worked it out so that I have great new coaches and talented, focused teammates. I am becoming close with my new teammates and coaches, and this season, my team I have the goal of winning nationals, so we push ourselves and each other every practice and game to make sure we accomplish it.

Basketball has continuously taught me valuable life lessons that I will forever use and need throughout my life. I often disagreed with teammates and coaches, through those experiences I learned that you can always be respectful to others. I learned that there is no substitute for hard work. In every aspect of life, you won’t excel unless you work hard. Learning these lessons was not always pleasurable or easy, but the rewards I receive from them are immense. So whether my team wins nationals or not, I play at the college level or not, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to play and enjoy the game of basketball.As a home schooled student, I have often experienced social rejection. As a child I didn’t understand why I wasn’t accepted by other children my age, and I was very dismayed about this for many years. As I grew older I learned that there were more important things in life than social acceptance. Playing sports as a child and young adult has gradually built up my confidence and taught me leadership, respect, and a good work ethic. As I have grown, up I have carried this knowledge to other aspects of my life.

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