I always liked having something to look forward to.
In high school, I was a homework bug. When I wasn’t doing homework, I was doing other homework. Homework was my life. My motto was “Finish all your homework ASAP so that you can do whatever you want.” I was a workaholic without the job industry. When I wasn’t doing homework at school, I wished that I had something to look forward to.
Sometimes I found things to look forward to. Sometimes I didn’t. And those were long and wishful days of wistful daydreaming. I always believed that having something to look forward to would make the days pass quicker. High school was not glamorous for me, which was how I came to adopt this philosophy so strongly. Homework was an interlude when there was nothing to look forward to.
Then there came basketball. Of course I was already past those boring days of high school. I had long forgotten about my little old philosophy. College requires a different kind of focus (ie. cooking, thinking, money, life) so I wasn’t really bothered about having hobbies or having none.
We went to our first basketball game last year. Just one. It didn’t make me thirst for more. I was impressed, but I don’t know why I never thought about it after that. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. I forgot all about it. In fall, my sister suggested we go during the semester. I didn’t quite care. I had homework, the globe I evolved around. I had tests, my universe.
When the tests were done, we went. And guess what? We lost. But we agreed to go again for the next game. My sister likes basketball, we had some free time, why not? So we went. We won. We went again. Another win. And again. A loss. We kept going anyway.
At some point, — Actually, in one day (I was very aware of it at that moment), we learned all the players by heart. We knew their jersey numbers, knew their names, knew who was being swapped in and swapped out. Knowing all that, we just had to have favorites, right? Suddenly we were cheering for certain names when lineups were announced at the beginning of each game.
Soon, we were tripping down the aisles to high-five the players. My god, that was one of the wildest things ever. I remember holding my arm out, feeling nothing but the eagerness of a gambler waiting for lot numbers to be drawn. As people started shouting “great job, man” “great game” “congratulations”, I felt stupid because I forgot to smile or say anything and I was anxious to get a high-five. Who even feels anxious about stuff like that in college?!
I blabbered like an idiot all the way home. Until the season ended, we didn’t miss one high-five session. I even started joining in on the praises and stuff. I even started to wish that I could meet the players. I got excited when I saw them on campus. I read every news article on the very next day. I willingly pulled up articles about basketball to learn more about it. Soon enough, I was throwing around words like ‘turnover’ and ‘alley-oop’. I got to meet at least two of the players, thanks to my sister who has very admirable guts. I wanted to play, too, even though the single memory I have of playing sports is like dust in the ocean. As you can tell, my brain was no longer a brain but a basketball by the end of it.
But wait, that’s not the end. I started to get inspired by one of the players. I have lots to say about him. His sportsmanship was crazy. He helped opponent team players up to their feet, he refused any form of praise without crediting his team and coach first, he demonstrated great trust for his teammates on the court, and he had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve when the ball was in his hand. Watching him, I felt like I could become a great basketball player.
After basketball season ended, I didn’t really know what to do with my life. I wanted to be a basketball player and that was all I knew. Sports is not something that is easily accessible. You need teammates, you need equipment, you need a ton of practice. It also made me wish that I had participated in some sort of sport in high school. Maybe I would’ve been some star athlete?! In those moments, I felt a lot of regret and sadness but I realized that I can’t be everything. There are a lot of us who sit and work behind desks, wishing for the life of a superstar. Ultimately, we should be thankful for what we have… Somehow.. the mood has changed… so I’ll get back to my point.
Fast forward and my delusions have somewhat faded. I’m committed to a lot of hobbies so it’s unlikely that I’ll play ball any time soon. But!! One thing I can take away from this amazing experience I’ve been blessed with is my brand new love for working out. So all those crazy things that I said and did for basketball have not been wasted.
Most importantly, I saw a light, a universe beyond my world of homework. Homework is important, but there should also be fun and that is why we say: ‘Work hard and play hard’. I’m still going to cry when I get a B instead of an A in a class… but probably not as much as I used to.