A Player’s Perspective

I was hesitant to write this piece on a player’s perspective at a tournament, because I didn’t want to seem like a spoiled athlete who wasn’t appreciative of the opportunity to play basketball at the collegiate level. Then I realized I worked hard to get to this position (with a lot of help from various people), so I have nothing to feel ashamed of and should be proud-as well as grateful.

Over the weekend, SVC’s men’s basketball had a two day tournament at Norwich University. The school is about 3 hours away from SVC’s campus, so we used two school vans to fit the 10 players of the team. We arrived at the Comfort Inn, which is where we would stay for the night. We arrived at 3:30pm and had lunch at 4:15pm. After eating and relaxing for about an hour, we met in the conference room to go over film at 5:15pm. We watched film on our first opponent, Trinity College. After watching, we went and gathered our things. We had about 20 minutes to do this and prepare to leave. We arrived at the school around 6:30pm. At that time, we did all of the things we normally do before games. Some of my teammates, Kyle and Damon, made their trips over to the training room to get taped or some other forms of treatment. Then there’s guys like Donnel and KJ, who throw on their headphones and get themselves in a mindset of focus. As for everyone else, we listened to music and talked amongst each other, keeping the vibes mellow but still focused on the task at hand. The specific task, facing Trinity college, was one of the more difficult ones we’ve had up to this point in the season.

The game started at 8pm. Without going into much detail, it was a hard fought game. Throughout the course of the match there were 7 ties and 13 lead changes. It came down to the final shot, the score 51-49, with us having the opportunity to tie or win the game. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalize and we dropped the contest to Trinity College. Losing a game like that and in that fashion had a tremendous effect on my attitude and my mental process for the rest of the weekend. Having not performed to the level of my own expectations or standards, I put all of the blame on myself. As selfish as it sounds, I felt as if the loss was my fault and mine alone. Basketball is a team sport, so I can’t really explain why I felt as if this loss should have just my name on it. This loss, along with my performance, put me in a bad place. I felt horrible enough to the point that I didn’t want to see or hang out with my teammates. I ignored texts, declined a call from my dad, and didn’t bother to look at my phone for a while. We had pizza given to us that night as our dinner. I wasn’t hungry, but my teammate kept asking me to eat something, so I did just to make him happy.

The next morning I woke up still feeling just as bad as I did the night before. The only difference was that my body felt just as bad physically as I did mentally. I didn’t realize I had logged 39 minutes of game time until we had our second film session that morning. It was tough mentally preparing for a consolation game. Nobody enjoys competing for third place, it’s almost like deciding who’s the best loser. I knew everyone else was feeling just as down about the previous night as I was, so being a leader, I decided to speak on it. I told the team that no one felt worse about the loss than I did, but at the same time we have another game in front of us. If we allowed the night before to continue affecting us, we’d come out of the weekend with two losses instead of one. This second game wasn’t nearly as depressing because we pulled off a victory, with a score of 109-65! This win was able to help us get over the feeling of losing a close one the night before. I saw some of the laughs and smiles return to my teammates’ faces, which was good to see as we made the trip back home. I guess the sports saying, “winning cures everything” really speaks the truth!