I started playing basketball with friends right before the summer of Grade 12. I was terrible. I would miss all my shots, not know where to move my feet, and foul people.
You know the kid that no one passes to? That was me.
I was really excited to start playing basketball. All my friends were doing it and I felt that it was a good way to unwind and spend more time with them. Since I also hate losing, I made a commitment to get a lot better at basketball.
That moment came when within a week, a good friend of mine decided to wait under the net, daring me to make a layup. When I got close to the net, rising up for the shot, he spiked the ball out of my hand.
“OhhhHHHhhhh” <- all my other friends
A couple of days after, some kid 4 years younger than me beat me.
So I started methodically getting better. Master right hand layups, then left hand layups. Master dribbling with both hands, then between the legs. Master shooting 3m away, then slowly moving further and further out.
Yet as I found myself practicing and practicing, it seemed as if I was not getting any better. I still kept missing shots. The ball would slip out of my hands when dribbling. Yet another person would block me viciously. It was pretty disheartening.
A month ago, now in the summer heading into my third year of university, I met up with my old high school friends to play basketball.
I scored a lot. It was as if the game had slowed down a little. It was easier to stop people who would always blow by me. It was clear to me that there had been a lot of tangible progress.
But I didn’t realize it until I went back to play with old friends.
My epiphany that day was that it is so hard to realize how we are constantly growing as an individual. It happens so gradually over time, that it is almost impossible to realize on a day to day basis.
It’s like watching a tulip bloom. You don’t realize it, but one day you walk out to the garden and BAM you see the vibrant colours of a blooming tulip.
This moment was a reminder to myself to make sure to reflect more deeply about my personal growth. Reflections on personal growth should extend beyond basketball though.
Recently, I have been thinking about how my confidence, sales skills, presentation skills, and general knowledge of business has expanded exponentially over time. There’s no other way to say it: I am proud of myself.
But there’s still so much to work on.