Stick With It

My mother’s memory shook her disapproving head at the amount of shampoo I placed on my hand and lathered into my hair moments ago.

Were you also taught not to be wasteful in specific areas of the household?

It’s funny how those tidbits stick with you. And how, even though I’m a million light-years away from my childhood, the size of a glob of hair product can send me right back there.

I haven’t told you, but I used to play basketball in high school. Every year, if I remember correctly, I wanted to quit. It was my Dad’s reminder of the commitment I’d made; to myself, to the coach, and to the team, that kept me from actually doing it.

The games were few and far between, which left ample time for practices, and holy cow, did we ever practice! 

As a team, we’d have to press our backs against a wall and lower ourselves down, down, down into a deep squat. When all our legs reached a 90-degree-angle, the stopwatch started, and the countdown began.

However taxing the physical aspect was I remember the mental part of it was all-out torturous. (And significantly more so when the coach added time or counted out loud. Really. Flipping. Slowly.)

I made a lot of gains and sacrifices during those years. Yet the net result of how it stretched me into someone who doesn’t shy away from hard work and commitment has been invaluable throughout my life.

Writing every day reminds me of those practices; I’m often tired and over it and don’t see the point. But then I go, and I do the exercises, and then I’m not thinking about it. Maybe even enjoying it?

And then something else occurs; I’m dribbling the ball with the agility of a circus clown juggling three balls while standing on a tight rope. I’m whipping a pass through the defenders’ arms and hitting my teammate’s hands through space and time in a way that physics can’t compute. Then I’m stepping behind a three-point line, taking a dribble past a defender, and flicking the ball off my fingertips. It feels right- I know it’ll go in. But, I like to watch it anyway – the arching motion out it, and how it appears to float. I don’t watch it go in though, I’m too busy running in the opposite direction to get back on defense.

It’s just practice, I tell myself. You’ve done it before and can do it again. 

Love, Jaclynn

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