(Emma Oyomba, who is going to be a senior at Norwalk High School, has attracted interest from colleges to play basketball and lacrosse. It is both a great and confusing situation, made more so because Emma is uncertain if she even wants to play a sport in college. Emma has agreed to write Emma’s Dilemma for Overtime so we can follow her along on the process to her ultimate decision.)
Since my last post a lot has happened. I went from playing AAU basketball to attending my first lacrosse camp. Trying to enjoy my summer is starting to fall last on my list. I could write a novel on just these two events so I decided to split them up. For this post I am going to talk about basketball.
During the last few weeks of school, I got an email from a college basketball coach. She wanted to check in and see what my plans were for the summer. And by plans she meant what AAU team I was playing for and when she could see me play.
I was freaking out because AAU was not what I had planned for my summer. I hadn’t played on an AAU team since the summer going into my sophomore year, and due to my injury I couldn’t play last summer. So, there I was staring at my iPhone trying to figure out what I could do about this situation. Eventually, I found a coach who also worked at my school. He is the head coach of CBC (Connecticut Basketball Club) for my age group.
After a couple practices, I was geared up for my first non-high school basketball tournament since the summer of 2010. I was a little rusty considering I had joined the team mid-season and only went to a few practices. I drove up to Pace University in New York by myself and it was so surreal. The last time I went to an AAU tournament my mom was driving and I was sitting in the passenger seat with my earphones in ignoring anything she was saying to me. I didn’t know anyone on the team because we all went to different schools as opposed to my previous AAU teams.
Things were definitely different this time around. When I stepped into the multi-court gym and saw all of these girls judging every other team that walked by, I was feeling a little nostalgic. Actually, nostalgic isn’t the word to describe it seeing as how I didn’t have a “sentimental longing” for that period in my life. All it did was bring back the memories of ridiculous refs, rowdy parents, obnoxious coaches and girls with attitudes. I mean, when you put girls filled with hormones in a gym, challenging each other, all of that should be expected. Nonetheless, I felt right at home.
That weekend we went 3-1, which is pretty good. But I couldn’t help but dread it a little. When I was on the bench I was thinking about what I was having for dinner or when I could go to the mall. Clearly those things shouldn’t be on my mind, but they were. My head wasn’t in the game and when coach took me out and asked, “Do you want to play?” I forced myself to say yes.
I knew it was a rhetorical question but answering in anything other than the affirmative wouldn’t suffice. I soon realized I wasn’t playing for myself, I was playing for the coach who emailed me. If my head or heart wasn’t in it, then I was of no use to that team or anyone else for that matter. I talked to coach and he was more than understanding. I don’t like to waste my time, so I would not waste someone else’s.
At the end of the day, AAU just wasn’t for me this summer. Maybe it’s because things have changed or I have grown up or it’s simply not something I want to do at the moment. I love basketball, I really do. I have been playing since 5th grade. I don’t know if it’s because of lacrosse or because of my lack of interest this summer, but basketball is just not one of my top priorities. Come to think of it, I just want to play for the sake of playing. Not play to showcase my talents to college coaches. But, this post is not necessarily an inclination of ruling out basketball as an option for college. I just think I need some time to relax my body, think about what I want to do and where I want to be.