Written by Ophelia Austen
Based on my experiences, basketball is no walk in the park. It is a sport of athleticism and concentration, all in one game. In fact, basketball is the second most popular sport in the U.S. That being said, there are only so many spots on a team. This March, the boys and girls of Milwee Middle School put themselves to the test and it was much more challenging than they could ever imagine.
As a result, we have phenomenal athletes on our Spartan teams. But some
students were less fortunate. I decided to ask around to see why some athletes believe they didn’t make the team. When interviewing the girls, most of them said they just needed more practice. The male athletes, however, claimed that their height was preventing them from making the team.
A student who has been playing basketball since he was five and didn’t make the team felt like “the world was going to end.” Even after all of the work he’s put in, he still didn’t make the cut. Keeping this in mind, I decided to take action. I went to talk to the man himself: Coach Nailing.
During an interview, Coach Nailling told me, while selecting athletes for the boy’s team, he was looking for “guys who don’t pitch a fit like a two year old, guys who don’t pout, [guys] with athleticism who can play defense, guys that rebound. A mix of the athleticism, but with a good attitude as well.” When I brought up the issue of height requirements, he said, “No, not at all.” He claimed that one of the shortest kids on the team was one of the best rebounders. And that kid was 5’4.
After weeks of investigation, Coach Nailling gave me this statement, “If I make comments regarding height, it is simply because middle school is a time that many students have a growth spurt. I would never tell a student whether or not they make the team is contingent upon whether or not they grow a few inches. I’ve been coaching high school basketball for over ten years and the Milwee team since the county brought back the middle school program. I’m pretty confident in how Coach Dumont and myself evaluate which players will be able to contribute the most to the team in a brief five game season.”
As basketball player Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Whether or not you made the team this year, never stop trying. Every obstacle life throws at you makes a difference in the whole picture. So don’t forget to dare, to hope, to dream, and to believe, because every angle of life matters.