As I reflect back many years ago regarding my participation in sports, I can’t help but think about the support and encouragement I received. From my parents to my coaches and others as well. Additionally, I think about the thousands of hours I put into sports. This ranged from summer camps attended at a young age, to summer leagues and camps during the high school years. The days and nights of shooting baskets in the rain all by myself, all in the hopes of obtaining my dream. I appreciate the phrases, “the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary,” and “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” I think this applies to all facets of life.
This hard work paid off. I was fortunate enough to obtain a full scholarship to play basketball at the University of Washington and it allowed me to:
· become a co-captain,
· hit a last second shot at the buzzer to beat UCLA 72-70 in Pauley Pavilion,
· score 35 points against the University of Oregon.
Once again, I was blessed. After college, I was drafted by the Indiana Pacers. Vying for a roster spot involved several brutal cuts over several months – from 30 rookies and free agents over one weekend in Indianapolis, to 12 participating a six week California summer league, to being one of 5 invited to fall camp. At the very end, right before the first pre-season game, I was cut. Naturally, I was heartbroken because my dream had ended. From the original 30 plus, the only one they kept was the number one draft choice that year, Herb Williams of Ohio State.
However, when one door closes, another opens. An opportunity to play professionally in Cologne, Germany arose. Over the course of two years, I became very fond of the culture and the people, and of course the travel experiences through Europe. It has taken me a while to get back to Europe, but I am very happy to be back, and working at St. John’s. Lastly, I would encourage young people to get involved and participate in extra-curricular activities.
The lessons I learned through sports (hard work, sacrifice, commitment, teamwork) have stayed with me, and truly enriched my life. I feel truly blessed.