‘Yo, you wanna run?’ ‘Yeah, for sure.’
Ball is life. The feel of the composite brushing your fingertips with every dribble, that smooth release stroke that you know is cash the moment it leaves your hand, the indescribable exhilaration when you stuff the guacamole out of somebody driving the lane. NOT IN THIS HOUSE! GET THAT GUAC OUT.
Ball is life. You’ve probably heard the saying before. More often than not, it’s embedded within a joke or non-serious sentiment. But to countless ballers out there, including myself, the phrase rings true in more ways than the casual onlooker could ever imagine…
It’s not just about the basketball. It’s about the steady growth over time, both physically and mentally. It’s about pouring yourself into something with the unavoidable outcome that you will improve each week. It’s a passion, an outlet, a stress-release, a friend, a means to make friends, a character-building journey. The list goes on and on. With the proper training regimen, your body grows on and off the court. You become stronger, quicker, more mobile, more agile, more skilled, more confident. With the proper mentality, you become smarter, craftier, more mature, more team-oriented, more humble, less selfish, and better – as a human being – inward and outward.
I’ve spent four and a half years as a Genetics PhD student at UC Davis, grinding it out in the lab, in courses, in TAships, through my qualifying exam, and through the inescapable bull-dooky that comes with navigating academia. As all grad students will tell you, in order to survive, you need outlets. You need to be able to escape from life as an academic, if but momentarily, in order to maintain balance in your life. Mental health. Physical health. Emotional health. I’m sure there are many other more intricately defined facets of the health wheel, yet these three surely are vital to your survival and prosperity as a grounded and centered graduate student [and person]. Whether it be through basketball, badminton, wood-working, metallurgy, or the like, we all require some alternative passion to immerse within and emerge improved each time. With the concept of steady progress, in any aspect of our lives, the world begins to make more sense. We feel fulfilled as we move forward each day. Week by week, that shot gets sweeter, that dribble-game gets more on point, those cat-like defensive reflexes grow into lion’s instincts ready to pounce on the nearest shot with the spirit of Dikembe Mutombo, himself. NO NO NO. NOT TODAY. 😀 [Triple finger wag.]
The take-home message for the day: We need balance. All of us need balance in this world, the reassurance that we are making progress, and the peace of mind that we have a release with which to place life in well-founded perspective. For myself and many others, that release is basketball. For you, that may be something entirely different, and that’s beautiful. The next time that you hear the phrase, ‘Ball is life,’ you may want to chuckle, and rightfully so. Yet I also ask that you take that time to reflect on your own passions and be thankful for every waking moment that you are able to live out those passions. Be thankful for your release and for your source of growth. At the end of the day, we all are human, and we all have the innate prerequisite for progress. Be true to yourself and always grant yourself the freedom to grow within the passions that you love. Savor those moments, and you’ll be happier for it.
With sincerest love a good wishes, Dave signing off for the evening. If this post happened to resonate in any way, feel free to comment below. Positive dialogue is always welcome. 🙂 Until next time, take care friends.
– Captain Dave