Recently Coach Chris took a trip to Australia. Take a look below to read his thoughts about his journey:
It was an 18 hour flight to Dubbo, New South Wales of Australia. That was the easy part for some reason. I can get overly anxious in a new environment with thoughts about culture, basketball, living situation, but most importantly receiving love wherever I am. My goal is to always leave a legacy wherever I can, doing what I love and inspiring others. On Sunday April 7th, I ended up running through Victoria park to get my body out of jet lag. Great decision as there was a car show not to far from my run. I got a chance to embrace the culture for that short hour and meet people with older cars dating back to the 60’s. They were more excited for me about the possibility of me playing in their city than I was and they didn’t even know me. The nervousness left.
Fast forward to Tuesday I played in a double header similar to AAU days for the Dubbo Rams manager. He wanted me to play in a league before I practiced with the team. I felt at home because more people started gradually coming in to watch as I took the floor. The day before I did a clinic with my god sister Faatimah who plays for the women’s team, so the kids/adults came to watch me play out of curiosity. I was passive at first trying to get the team involved, 4 easy assist in the 1st quarter 6 points I’m doing good right? Nope, my sister tells me I’m too passive. For the last 3 years my motto has been to win and make the people I’m playing with happy. It’s been a struggle for me finding a balance of being aggressive and distributing the rock to my teammates. So I decided to make it a game, every other shot I’ll take it and the ones I don’t, easy set ups for my team. By 5 minutes in the third quarter I had 28 points with 8 assist and 7 rebounds. Put on a show, but the second game was even more incredible.
I was relaxed, confident and the next game, there where more people around the court to watch. Word travels fast in Dubbo. I asked the kids on Monday to call me “Red” a nickname given to me by my older family members, but by the time it was Tuesday 7pm the whole city knew of me as Red, Faatima’s brother. Short story, ended with 37, 8, 8 with 5 steals in the second game. It was fun, and it went by quick. I stress to a lot of people that you always have to plan ahead, be three steps ahead. Unfortunately by doing that you then miss the exciting parts. In these games and practices I was in the moment like I would never get the opportunity to play basketball again. It really helped, which is why they asked me to come back for a training camp and make workouts for other teams in the areas of Melbourne/Sydney/Queensland.
The whole week and a half I got a chance to work with kids from ages 8-18, worked out excessively at a CrossFit gym down the road and spent time really evaluating basketball in my life. My conclusion was I want to play as long as I can, wherever I can. Something about basketball makes me feel safe, welcomed, and challenged all at the same time. Not to mention Dubbo has one of the best animal sanctuaries(Zoo’s) on the Western Hemisphere. I spent a good amount of my free time taking pictures and writing down what I knew about the animals present so that I can possibly help out with when I have the resources.
That’s why I named this blog The Difference, I’m a firm believer everybody’s journey will be different. So when you are able to understand that you can achieve your goals your way. Not my way, not the top pick in the draft, or NBA/oversea superstars. Or even your friends/teammates/peers on the school teams way. It’s always going to be different and be ready to accept that at all levels of basketball along with life. If you take anything from this blog, always remember to set your goals high. And everyday just look for improvements on getting close to your goals. Rome was not built in a day, but a brick was laid every 24 hours. I’m going to continue to lay bricks on and off the court daily.