A few years ago an amazing friend of mine invited me to play basketball a couple mornings a week with a group of women here in the town I live in. I thanked her for asking me and then proceeded to think of any and every excuse to NOT play. EVER. This went on for over a year before my husband a I took a job opportunity in North Carolina, we lived there for 2 1/2 years before moving back to Southern Utah to be close to our families. A few weeks after we moved back my sweet friend once again, asked me to come play basketball. I don't remember exactly but I believe I resisted going for a few months before I finally agreed to come and try it out. I was trying to lose weight and had reached a plateau in my weight lose journey. I figured maybe basketball would be something that would help change up my exercise routine enough to lose the remaining weight.
Even with my excitement about trying to lose the weight, I have to admit I was terrified to step on that court and play ball with those ladies. I really don't know why, I played ball in High school and loved it. I loved the friendships I built and the exercise I got, and the skills I improved. But to tell the truth, basketball brings out my insecurities. ALL. OF. THEM.
I feel slow.
I feel fat.
I feel less skilled then everyone else.
I am sure I'm the worst player on the court.
I feel yucky, sweaty and ugly.
In short. I listen to the demons in my head on the basketball court. I had been avoiding them. For years. I had picked up hobbies and participated in activities that even if I wasn't the best, they made me feel like I was improving myself. Basketball doesn't do that for me. At-least it didn't then. I decided to commit to my friend to be there a couple times a week and give it a valiant try.
It was hard!
Really hard. I would show up and walk in that gym and immediately the demons would point out that I was fatter than everyone else. The other girls weren't happy to see me. They didn't want me to come. I'd be so nervous I'd have to pee a couple times before we even started playing. And you know what? I was rusty. Not playing basketball for years had taken it's toll. It took me some time to remember all the things I learned in high school. And it's taking even longer for me to actually re-develop the skills enough to actually do whats supposed to be done. There were days when honestly I left that gym in tears and vowed to not come back. And yet I did. Over and over again.
Because I started to want what all the other amazing ladies that came to basketball seemed to have, they seemed to be having so much fun, they seemed confident, energetic and competitive. They were athletes. Many of them had played ball beyond High School and were extremely talented. I wanted to be more confident. I wanted to play basketball for FUN. I wanted playing ball to make me more energetic rather then pee in terror. I wanted to conquer the demons.
So I kept going. I kept playing. It's been about 18 months since I started playing ball with the amazing ladies here in town. And you know what? The demons aren't completely gone. They still come out on the basketball court. They still taunt me and tear me down. Only when I listen to them. I used to listen to them each and every time. But I'm listening less and less.
Basketball is more fun then it has ever been. I'm more confident on the court then I have ever been. (That's still not much. but I'm working on it!) I feel like I contribute to the team effort. And those wonderful ladies have been so incredibly patient with me. They have taught me so much. I've learned about patience on the court. I've learned about accepting people for who they are. I've seen them contribute hundreds of dollars to other basketball ladies in need. I've watched them serve each other. I watched them encourage and help ladies who are struggling or having a hard time. I've seen them comfort those that are mourning or having trials in their lives. I wouldn't say they are my "bestest friends" in the whole wide world. They don't tell me their deepest darkest secrets and I don't tell them mine. But the love and friendship on that court each time we play is unlike anything I've ever been a part of. It's true friendship.
While I still get a little nervous once in awhile to step on the basketball court, the friendship, the fun, and the thrill of the game always trumps the demons. I'm grateful for an opportunity to play basketball, to learn to shut the demons out, and to get stronger in the mean time. I don't know how long I'll have the blessing and opportunity to play with those incredible women, but I do know it's worth it. Every single time.
In many ways, facing my insecurities on the basketball court and working to overcome them prepared me in many ways to start Everyday Eden. I learned failure is just a beginning, not the end. I've learned to pick myself up and just keep on trying. I've learned that practice might not ever make perfect but it sure helps make you better. I've needed these things as we tackle this business.
I'm honestly not sure any of my amazing basketball friends will ever read this post. But I want them to know they have changed me. Forever. For the better.
Featured Photo by www.bethanyallenphotography.com @bethanyallenphotography