Don't think, Take the Shot
July 27, 2019
I dribbled towards the hoop. Just a defender between me and a basket. I pushed the ball through my legs and created room for my shot.
Aim for the front of the ring.
No, the board.
No, the back of the ring.
No, stop overthinking. Calm down, shoot.
I jumped with the ball in hand, above my head. I pushed it, just like I pushed all the shots I made in my life. The Ball flew gracefully, and at the end of its trajectory, it missed.
"AARRGH!!" I yelled.
"It's Okay Jay, you're just having a bad day. You'll get your shots in tomorrow." My friend comforted me.
That wasn't what I wanted to hear. Blaming things on the day didn't make sense to me. It's just an excuse to escape responsibility for your actions and their consequences. I missed it because the blocker's hands intimidated me, afraid that he'll block my shot, I threw it earlier than I wanted to.
"Sorry, I missed it." I panted.
"It's alright. Just pass it if you can't shoot it, we're a team, right? Win that $10?" My pal offered a hand.
"Win that 10." I gave him a High-Five.
Then, I messed up all my shots and end up giving passes to my teammates for the rest of the match. We won, but it felt frustrating, unsatisfactory.
August 3, 2019
I was walking back to my room after another day of Basketball. Messed up all my shots again. I kept missing all my shots since that $10 bet match.
No one would tell me what I lacked, everyone would just comfort me for failing.
I started getting so used to failing my shots that passing near the hoop became a habit.
I started losing the enjoyment Basketball gave me.
August 5, 2019
Ananya walked with me to the Canteen. We talked about sports and the conversation gradually went towards my poor performance. Ananya and Farhan were the only ones I could talk to about everything related to me without holding back.
"Hey, lately I suck at shots. I keep calculating my shots to score but I still end up missing. I hate it." I finally spoke about what had been bugging me for days.
"Jay, you're a worrywart. I'm pretty sure you keep overthinking your shots and miss. And that damages your confidence and your performance gets affected again. That's what happened when we practised for our class skit last month," She slapped my back "Have some confidence, Lebron~" She smiled mischievously.
There it was. The thing I had been dying to hear. I just needed confidence, it didn't matter if I screwed up once or twice, or if I didn't score as many points as the previous day. I just needed to play with confidence in my abilities and enjoy the second in the air while shooting.
When did tough opponents start scaring me instead of exciting me?
I chuckled, "Hey."
"What is it?"
"Thanks. I love you."
Ananya started pulling my cheek, "AWW there you go acting so cute-"
She quickly removed her arm after she saw a teacher walking towards us.
"Evening Ma'am~" She grinned.
The Teacher gave us the look while greeting us back. I chuckled, it wasn't even funny but I was awfully high on Dopamine.
"Come watch me play tomorrow, your LeBron is going to be the MVP." I elbowed her.
"Sure, Sure~" She replied.
"You'll kiss me if I win." I proposed an idea.
"Nope~ I don't want sweaty kisses, Haha~"
"Imma have to pull your cheeks for that. C'mere!"
"Noo!~," She said in a Dramatic Voice as she fled from my basketball hardened hands.
August 6, 2019
I ran to the opponent's court as soon as my team stole the ball from the opponents. I called for the ball. The ball reached my arms. I ignored the defender and visualized a basket. I let my muscle memory aim and shoot. I watched the ball soar beautifully into the basket without hitting the rim. It was a swish! That basket was the most satisfying point for me in a while. I felt electric.
I looked at Ananya outside the court. She clapped as she cheered my team. I was determined to win the match. I am going to get that kiss today.
Thanks for Reading!!
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