It was the beginning of my freshman year in high school at Juanita Sanchez and basketball tryouts were right around the corner. As I walked into my English class that morning all that came to mind was “I can’t wait to play high school basketball”. Coming into high school as a freshman excited, not knowing how hard I would have to work to maintain my grades to play. That thought stayed with me throughout every day of school. Every class I entered, all that came to mind was basketball. Every day after school I would immediately walk down the street to the bus stop and try to catch the city bus since it was scheduled to come four minutes ahead of releasing time.
As soon as I would get home from school, the first thing I would do is eat. Next I would change into my basketball gear, grab my ball and head right out. I continued this routine every day leading up to tryouts. From gym to gym, outdoors and indoors spending my whole day playing basketball. Constantly lying to my mother about finishing my homework. She would get home from work at 6pm every weekday so I would tell her that I finished it before then just to avoid doing it. I just never wanted to do anything that would cut into my playing time.
Finally it was the day of tryouts and I was more nervous than I had ever been in my life. Tryouts were on a Wednesday night at 6 o’clock. I remember being so nervous I forgot to eat that day. As I packed my stuff I said a prayer in hopes of God to bless me and help me be my best at tryouts. I started walking over to the bus stop around 5:40 and I noticed a city bus ready to depart from my stop. As I got a bit closer I thought, “No that cannot be my bus”, that was until I saw the number 11 on the back. Immediately I began to run as fast as I have ever ran in my life. As I was approaching my way there, the bus began to move. “NO, STOP!” I yelled as I tried to catch my breath but the bus just kept going, fading away from my view.
I looked at my phone and it was 5:48, I just stood there looking around not knowing what to do. A part of me thought it just wasn’t meant to be and that I should go home. The other part of me said there’s no way that I’m going to give up now. All that hard work to be thrown out the window. Immediately, I began to run to my high school. I ran for about 3 miles and made it at about 6:15.
Tryouts had already begun and everyone was finishing up running laps around the gym. I get to the gym and start changing quickly gasping for every breath. Right as I’m about to head into the pack of guys running. The timer goes off and all the guys stop running and walk towards the coach. He then sent everyone to get some water and get ready for the next part. As we all broke apart from the circle he called me over and said “you know you’re 15 minutes late right, I don’t think you’re going to be able to participate in this years tryouts”. Knowing it wasn’t fair that all the guys had to run and I hadn’t despite running to get to school, I understood. And although did, I wasn’t going to leave without trying out. I apologized about being late and told him “I’ll run all tryout if I have to but I’m not going to go home”. The coach then chuckled and said, “Start running”. Exhausted and out of breath, I remained composed. I began running and felt my legs burning up immediately. Although this feeling was intense, I was not going to stop; I had to fight through it. About 20-25 minutes later while the rest of the guys were participating in a multitude of drills, the coach calls me over. He says, “You got a lot of heart kid” and tells me to get in a line. I went on to make the team, as well as earn second team all division and second team all league. I set out on a mission and although there were obstacles, I never gave up. I fought through physical pain and against time. I remained determined enough to will myself to where I wanted to be and I was never going to stop until I got there.