It isn’t until you almost lose something you love that you realize just how much you take it for granted. I came to this realization last year.
Last season, after an awkward fall, I landed on my wrist. There was a popping sound and I immediately knew something wasn’t right.
At that moment, I could see my whole basketball future crumbling down.
So many questions raced through my mind within a matter of seconds.
“Is my wrist broken? Will this be the end of my basketball career?”
There was so much uncertainty, and I was afraid to hear the answers.
But, eventually, I had to face the facts.
And luckily, they weren’t as bad as I imagined.
Yes, my wrist was broken. I was going to have to sit out the rest of the season. But most importantly, no, my career was not over.
In that moment though, I realized just how quickly things can be taken away.
So, let’s start with what helped me come to this realization – basketball.
Playing college ball never crossed my mind until my sophomore year of high school.
Truthfully, I didn’t think I was good enough until my coach convinced me otherwise.
As soon as I gained more confidence, I knew I wanted to stay close to my home in Florida and compete in the SEC.
And picking a school turned out to be a far easier decision than I thought.
Once I met Coach Curry, I knew; Alabama it is. It instantly felt like family.
And just like family, they always had my back.
This was especially apparent during my rehab after I broke my wrist.
My teammates and coaches knew I needed time to recover. And when I was healthy again, they pushed me.
Because of their support, I was able to join the elite 1,000-point club and moved up to number eight on the Alabama all-time assists list. Those are milestones I’m beyond proud of.
One of the most important things that helped me get to that point was practice.
Or to be more precise, my attitude towards practice.
You see, I’m a strong believer that what you put in is what you get out.
A “making it through practice” type of attitude is very different than a “making the most of practice every single day” type of attitude.
Also, practice is a lot more than just sprints and drills, it’s where you build chemistry and an unbreakable bond with your teammates.
Without that support, I would’ve never accomplished those two milestones. I’m so grateful that Coach Curry saw something in me and gave me a chance as a freshman.
I hope my teammates and coaching staff all know how much each of them mean to me. They’ve made my entire experience at Alabama so incredible.
So, to all of you guys, thank you.
Another prime example of something we take for granted is school.
Sure, we all love to complain about classes, homework, and tests. But in reality, we should feel blessed.
Education opens the doors to so many things. Because of the knowledge I’m gaining at Alabama, I know I’m going to be set up for success when I graduate.
Right now, I’m pursuing my MBA. After three years of hard work and dedication, I was able to get my undergraduate degree. Since I still had eligibility left, I was encouraged to keep going towards my MBA.
No part of this has been easy. There’s been a lot of hard work and late nights, but it’s all paid off.
I’ve accepted the challenges life has thrown at me, and I don’t regret it one bit.
My parents always told me that you have to work for what you want. So, ever since I was a little girl, I had this attitude instilled in me.
My parents inspired me to make a name for myself. And, through my schooling, I’ve been able to do that.
As demanding it is to balance school and athletics, it’s a great blessing.
And I understand that not everyone is as fortunate as I am. That’s a big reason why it’s so vital for me to give back and help others.
As a student-athlete at Alabama, I’ve been given a platform to do just that.
There are a lot of people, even young kids, who don’t have much in life.
And I want to do everything I can to change that.
That’s why last summer, for example, I spent every moment I could at a school just down the street.
Kids at this school are underprivileged. There’s no way around it.
But I knew that if I’d volunteer there for a few hours a day, I could help brighten their lives just a little bit. And that’s important to me.
No matter what we were doing, I loved finding ways to make these kids smile. And there is no better feeling in the world than a kid’s smile. Plain and simple.
Being a part of this school and these kids’ lives is one of my favorite things to do. I wish I had more time to hang out with them, but I make the most of it.
Breaking my wrist and realizing how quickly life can turn around didn’t cause a change in me, per se. I’ve always paid a lot of attention to excelling in those three areas I addressed in this story; athletics, academics, and giving back to the community.
But the moment of laying on the ground definitely solidified the significance of making the most of life.
And for that, I’m grateful.
The point of this story is that I believe we should make the most of our opportunities.
My parents instilled this attitude ever since I can remember, and I genuinely believe it’s a great one to live by.
And hopefully, my take on things will inspire some of you as well.