Saturday, October 8, 2011
Love of the Game
Brandon Jennings, an LA native, is a baller. A baller is what you call someone who knows how to play the game of basketball. You can also call him a hooper, but I like baller. When you're playing the game you're "balling." It means you have skill. This is obvious, since Jennings is in the NBA. He's a 6'1 point guard for the Milwaukee Bucks. And he loves playing the game.
If you've paid attention to sports lately, you know that it is getting extremely unlikely that the NBA will have a season this year. There are disagreements about money and salary caps and stuff that a fan doesn't care about. A fan simply wants to watch people who are good at a sport playing it and playing it with passion and intensity. I think this is what Jennings wants as well.
Sports Illustrated just ran an article about Jennings. He's been using Twitter and other social media outlets to find pickup games around the country. Jennings wakes up and tweets, trying to find a location to do some balling. He then picks one and shows up and plays. After he's exhausted the venue (which means dominated), he goes back to the Twitter and figures out where he's going next. Jennings loves the game.
When it's all said and done, a NBA player is an athlete. Take that a littler further and he is a person, doing something that he loves. He was playing the game before he got the contract and was on TV and became famous...and he will probably be doing after it's all said and done.
I remember watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians (yes, I watch it occasionally) and Lamar Odom was talking to his now wife Khloe. He was telling her about some of the tough times he had growing up and how he used to cope with stress. When things were tough, he went out to the park and he played basketball. All he would do, he said, was shoot hoops for hours until the sun went down and then he'd finally go home. Then the next day, he'd wake up and go shoot hoops again. He said something to the effect of, "I feel at peace when I'm playing ball."
When Jennings was in high school he had his mom drop him off at the LA Fitness by his house at 5:00am every day before school. Because when you're in high school, you have nothing better to do then play ball at five in the morning. The point is, basketball never used to be about the money. It was for the love of the game. Sure, most NBA players and professional athletes for that matter live extravagant lifestyles. They own mansions and cars probably like being millionaires. Even with all the perks of playing professional ball, though, there are still some who just want to play the game.
Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do. I think we need a reminder every now and again to help us set our priorities straight and realize the gift it is to do what you love and to live your life to the full (be it your job, career, hobbies, education or dreams). The question we need ask of ourselves is: Do we still love to play the game?