I’m awkward. Most people know that about me by now.
When we were kids, my brother and I would always see other kids playing basketball or a sport and with me being older than him, I should have been the one to go and ask people if we could join in but for some reason, I always sent my brother. I barely speak when I first meet people most of the time because I never know what to say.
Playing basketball has given me a great opportunity to meet new people which has been nothing short of amazing as I have made some life-long friends so far. I think that is the saddest part about leaving a team. Leaving the new friends you made behind. Anyways, there are two stories that I wanted to share with you that are particularly funny and sum up the way I make friends pretty well…
In 8th grade, I switched AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) teams to play for what was then the Boro Blitz. I had only started playing AAU the year before and it had taken me pretty much all year to befriend the girls on my old team. Being on a new team meant new people. I barely spoke. I would show up to games and practices, do what the coach asked and then sit by my Mom and Dad until it was time to start or leave. The coaches on my team used to mispronounce my name and by this age I had already given up on correcting people. Finally after one tournament, this girl named Nicole came up to me and asked me how to pronounce my name the correct way so I told her. She then proceeded to tell me that the team spoke about it and came to the conclusion that they thought I was the type of person who would get angry and blow up everything around me (I assure you, I am not). Basically, they thought I was not only weird, but crazy. Nicole had been the leader of the group and the one chosen to come over and tell me. We’ve been best friends ever since.
The other story is even more odd. In college, I played with a girl who lived near my hometown named Kendra. Kendra played for the same AAU organization as I did but that is not how we became friends. When she came up to Fairfield for her recruiting trip, I was chosen to be her host. After coach left, I said “What’s up” to her and she almost passed out from amazement. The reason was in high school, she attended one of my games. At this game the newspapers were taking picures of me and she asked someone who I was and they told her I was a deaf basketball player. Since we started practicing, and for some reason she never heard me speak, she thought I was also mute. She thought I had a secret way of communicating with my mom and dad and my best friend B who played (and apparently it wasn’t sign language). She even let me get hit by a screen once in practice because she thought it would be pointless to call it out cause I couldn’t hear. When she arrived at Fairfield, she was in such shock that I could actually speak that she called her mother and told her I wasn’t deaf or mute. And yes, to this day we remain friends and I tease her about it all the time. However, she isn’t the only one who thought I was deaf or mute when they first met me because I have been asked that question quite a lot.
Getting to play basketball is great, but making new and life-long friends, I think that is one of the best parts about playing the game. Playing overseas has been amazing because I get to meet so many new people and teammates and make new friends. I enjoy being a part of the Hatters because they have been a pretty awesome group of ladies to be around and share laughs with.