To me – and most probably to anyone who plays it – basketball is much more than just a hobby, more than a sport, more than a way to stay healthy. Children and adults alike love the game because of the sheer joy and adrenaline rush felt when playing, as well as the feeling of belonging, of sharing a common goal. The intense emotions and the philosophy associated with the game make basketball my favorite sport. The qualities, values and lessons learned, as well as the hardships encountered on the court have helped me grow as a person.
First of all, basketball helped me believe in myself. I used to be a very shy and even cowardly teen, always afraid of failure. When I first laid my hands on the ball, I thought I would never be able to dribble properly, let alone score a field goal. But it was just a game, it was fun, and it didn’t scare me. And guess who’s scoring field goals now? As I practiced and my skills improved, I found myself much more confident – I understood that I was able to reach my goals if I worked hard enough, and this reflected in other areas of my life as well. I now had the courage to try new things, I was much less intimidated by people or unexpected situations, I felt stronger – I believed in myself.
Secondly, basketball is about teamwork and good communication. The game taught me to play for the team, not for myself – to know when to pass the ball to someone with better chances of scoring, or when to come help a teammate get out of a stingy situation. No matter how good the players are individually, if they don’t communicate and can’t work together properly, if they play for themselves, the team will most certainly lose.
Thirdly, I believe this sport can teach you a lot about who someone really is. Just one quick game can tell you more about a person’s life than anyone can imagine. Within the first few minutes on the court, you can learn about one’s willingness, eagerness, individuality, perception of self, optimism, confidence level, altruism, trust in others, and much, much more. All this without words – or not many, at least.
Another reason why I absolutely love this sport is because it encourages bonding. Whether we won or we lost, each game, each training session made me feel closer and closer to my teammates. Fighting for the same goal brings people together, whether the goal is achieved or not. Winning a game connected us in joy, just as much as the sadness of losing linked us together. Even the inevitable quarrels, once resolved, made me feel closer to the other players.
Finally, basketball is a cozy refuge when life gets difficult. Though I have grown a lot, I still am scared of many things, I sometimes lack confidence still – I am still human. Whenever I feel the need to run away, I just turn to basketball. While I’m playing, I can take my mind off whatever difficulties I’m encountering and I can believe in myself again. On the court, all I need is myself and my team, nothing else; for a few hours, all I’m focusing on is enjoying the game and having fun.
Basketball is my favorite sport, but it’s definitely not just a sport. It teaches you a lot about yourself and others, it boosts your confidence in yourself and others, it teaches you the importance of teamwork and communication, it helps you deal with difficult situations – it helps you grow as a person, and that is why I love it.