It’s the beginning of January and the first Monday back from the winter break. I’m usually not very enthusiastic about Mondays, but today is the start of basketball season. I’m sitting in class pretending to read Hamlet. I’m too distracted by the ticking sounds of a clock. There are 3 minutes until the bell rings at exactly 3:34pm. My excitement is pumping through my veins and almost out of my chest. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. When you lay awake in bed, waiting for the clock to hit 9am. In my family this is the most appropriate time to wake everyone up on Christmas morning.
The bell rings, I immediately run out of the classroom. I head to my locker to grab my basketball gear and head straight down to the gymnasium. On my way, I navigate through the maze of people. I speed walk passed my classmates, trying not to make eye contact with any of them.
I like to be the first one in the change rooms. The idea of ‘calm before the storm’ appeals to me greatly. After 5 minutes of prepping myself, the rest of the team piles in through the doors. One of my teammates starts her music; “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil John is blasting through her small, but mighty boom box.
On the first day of practice, before we even start we head to our Coach’s office and we pick out our uniform numbers. I’m a senior on the junior basketball team and seniors have sonority, so we get to choose our numbers first. I pick number 10. The rest of the team picked their numbers and then we start to discuss if we want matching sweaters, pants, and shoes. We are going over the cost of the clothing. Most of the girls vote ‘yes’ to getting extra clothes. But, not all the girls on the team agree to get extra, unnecessary clothing. One of the new 7th graders explains that she doesn’t want to get other clothing. This causes an outbreak between the team. The girls didn’t understand why she didn’t want to get the sweaters, pants, and shoes. I remember thinking, “Why wouldn’t she want to get the clothes too? We could match as a team?” But, then it came to me that it wasn’t that the 7th graders didn’t want the clothes… It’s probably due to the expense of the clothes. As, a team player I took the girl to the side and she further explained that she didn’t want to purchase the clothes, because her parents wouldn’t pay for the unnecessary clothing.
I found myself reflecting upon the matter. Should we not get the matching clothes, because one person can’t afford them? My answer was yes. I could tell by the girls faces that they were disappointed. But, I could understand why they didn’t see eye to eye with this matter. Growing up in a lower class family gave me a different perspective of the world and people that live in it. I didn’t always have the luxuries my friends had. So, that’s when I found myself thinking, “Being a teammate isn’t symbolized by the matching clothing you wear, being a teammate means to support one another through leadership and kindness.” In the end we didn’t go through with purchasing the matching clothes. What we did do is learn the value of what a true teammate entails and truly understanding the meaning behind “taking one for the team.”