Articles, Blog

Free Throws and the Flu

October 21, 2019

I’ve been competing in the Hoop Shoot for five years. And this is my third time at Nationals. I was 8 years old, and I got the flu in the middle of the night. I woke up in the morning and tried as hard as I could to convince my parents that I was feeling fine, and I could do it. He was so sick. But he was determined. He was going to go to this competition. He threw up in the car on the way there, and he threw up in the car on the way back. I didn’t take any practice. I just sat up there, just praying that I wouldn’t get sick all over the court, and I made it through without any problems, shot 17 for 25. And made it out of that competition, fortunately. He did a great job, and he won. And we got to keep going. We just keep going. He went the next year. He went to Nationals when he was nine. And the, I think he got third, did you get third at State? The year after that. And then he went to Nationals again the next year. And we’re back again this year. About two weeks before the competition, we start going in in the mornings and getting up 100, 200 shots. And, after school sometimes, we’ll go in and get up some shots. We try to get mentally tough. We’re going for 25. We’re striving for 25. We’re not okay with 24 or 23. We want to hit 25 to win this. If you’re not nervous, then I don’t know how. You just try to focus as much as you can on your shot and how many shots you need to make. And, the nerves will come. It just happens. He always tells me that he sings a song in his head while he’s shooting, and that way he doesn’t get quite so nervous. It kind of takes my mind off the pressure when I’m just going over the lyrics in my head. The Hoop Shoot has taught me more life lessons than it has basketball lessons. It’s taught me how to try to be cool under pressure. And it’s even helping me right now with this interview, not being as nervous. It’s, I don’t know, it’s just done so much for my family. It’s done so much for me as a person. And I’d recommend it to anybody.

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