It was warming up in Medford as spring approached. I lifted weights outside and soaked up the sun’s rays. Gil and Jamie were still on my mind but I knew I couldn’t let them overwhelm me. I trusted that God had a plan for me, and I was going to fulfill it. Being a regular student at Maine for a while, I realized that life wasn’t for me. It was too boring and it seemed like all anybody did was party and drink.
Outside one day, I picked up a basketball and started dribbling. I was immediately transported back to my freshman year of high school, shooting in the cold, trying to get as many minutes as I could on the JV team. I thought about how life took some weird turns, but at that moment the smell and feeling of the ball in my hands felt so good.
I kept dribbling, eventually walking out to the street in front of the house. For over an hour, I did the same dribbling drills I performed years earlier, mixing in different moves like there was someone playing defense on me. My handle was horrible, but after every dribble I felt myself getting it back ever so slightly. When I finished dribbling, I shot for a few minutes in the driveway. It felt amazing, and I wondered why I had given this up in the first place.
Following the psychiatrist’s advice, I tried to exercise as much as possible. It gave me a sense of power after every session, also providing me with clarity of what I wanted to do in the future.
An interesting thing about my life was that when I played basketball, I’d typically eat very well that day. Even when I was nearly broke, it was like I gave myself permission to eat. When I didn’t play, I was very frugal and worried about every dime I had. From this realization, I thought, Things are good when I play basketball.
This turned out to be a mental re-birth of my basketball career.