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Bleed Just Like Us

Growing up in the Bronx playing basketball can be tough. When you are at the park, gym, or playing on a milk crate there is always someone ready to challenge you. You are challenged by friends, other players, and even the local thugs with nothing to do. However, when you are a confident player none of this bothers you. In reality, you are prepared for such arguments and are conscious enough to understand that others are just trying to stop you from playing hard and being a winner. To put it another way, these challengers are trying to see if you can be intimidated. They are trying to play a mental game to make you feel inferior. Sadly, I have witnessed too many ballers fall victim to this behavior. For instance, during the 90’s many basketball players in the Bronx were scared to travel to other neighborhoods for pick-up games. They would be scared to play basketball in other boroughs because they would be on unfamiliar ground and possibility challenged. In fact, I remember when I would ask friends to travel to Brooklyn to play basketball, they would look at me as if I was insane and make silly excuses such as “that’s too far” and “i'm not getting shot or robbed”.

In any event, I have always felt that if you are not willing to travel to other places to compete against different people you are limiting your growth. Besides, if you did not travel, how are you making yourself better? How can you really assess your ability? Moreover, why don’t you want to grow? These are important questions that must continue to be asked because having growth demonstrates that you have aspirations and are willing to act on them. Therefore, you should never be scared to compete whether if it’s in sport, school, work, or any other aspect of life. As has been noted, I have observed others degrade themselves because of another person’s reputation, title, or worth to no avail. Honestly, I think there are only a few things worst than a grown individual being scared or fearful of someone that breathes the same air as them. Ultimately, standing up for yourself requires courage. However, that courage can be easily generated when you understand that all humans bleed the same. In short, there is never a reason to fear a challenge or think of yourself as inferior to another human being because only GOD can judge you”.

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