In the beginning / Our Life Now

When is it time to call it a day?

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Since age 13 I’ve been a basketball player.  I love the game. Love it. Its how people identify me, its how I found my own identity. Most people I know and love, I met through basketball, one way or another.  I can honestly say I don’t think I would have achieved half the things in my life if I hadn’t picked up a basketball in the gym at Eastbank Academy all those years ago. I’ve done things in my life that a little kid from the eastend of Glasgow shouldn’t have. Basketball was my comfort when things in life got tough; it gave me confidence when I didn’t think it possible, it made me the person I am today. It all sounds so cliché but its true.

I’ve lost my love for the game at times in my life, don’t get me wrong, I spend almost 5 years in the US and when I moved back to Glasgow in 2003, I was lost. I was injured and no longer able to play basketball at the level I had before. The one thing that could keep me on the straight and narrow could no longer rescue me.  I didn’t play for a long time, a very long time. I made some bad choices along the way and paid for them, I still am in a way.

I started to play a little here and there over the next few years, and a little over a year ago I joined a team here in Avignon. I’m enjoying myself but it’s just not the same as before. Anyone who knows me as a basketball player, knows I don’t do things by half…if I play, I want to play hard. I want to compete and win. My body doesn’t do what my brain tells it to do though. I’m not as good as I once was.  (or thought I was!) My love for the game has changed I think and I don’t know what to do to get things back to the way they were.

This past few months have been some of the toughest I’ve had to endure in my life.  I lost the person who showed me the game, who defined everything that basketball is and should be, the person who opened so many doors of opportunity, not just for me but many more kids who came after me, he helped me achieve my dreams, my coach, Jim Lay.  He inspired me to be a better person, he’s still doing it and his influence in my life will stay with me forever.

Losing Jim, my love for the game and the fact my body is making me more frustrated by the day, is forcing me to decide if I still want to play anymore. All athletes at some point in their career need to decide when is the best time to call it a day, some decide through injury, some are fortunate to play for years until their body gives up…and some lose their love of the game, I don’t want to do the latter. Maybe I need to bow out whilst I still have all my good memories, instead of continuing to play and growing to hate the one thing that gave me so much love over the years.


9 thoughts on “When is it time to call it a day?

  1. Louise McGOldrick, i think that if you still enjoy playing you should not hang up your stinky trainers just yet. My big thought is that you need to accept that your not 18 anymore, your body may not be able to do what it once could but be greatful that your still able to play. I’m sure your still kickin ass. Dont be so tough on yourself big yin x

  2. BFF4EVA, I never played sport to the level you did. I accept that. So it’s hard for me to totally understand where you are at right now. As for me, I still play football every week and it can frustrate the hell out of me. I’m considerably older than you and my body lets me down all the time. It doesn’t do what my brain tells it to do. It doesn’t do what it used to be able to do. My brain is starting to let me down too. My speed of thought and my game awareness are not as quick and not as strong as they used to be. I love the game but it frustrates me more and more. I also play to win. My desire to win is probably stronger now than it was years ago when I played at a higher, more competitive level. However, I have one point of reference that always gives me perspective. My twin brother had to give up the game we both learned together as children. There wasn’t a day went by that we never kicked a ball to one another. But he hasn’t played for over ten years, maybe 15. He had to give it up through illness. Okay I can’t do what I used to; okay I get really frustrated at my body failing me; okay the pressures of life mean I can’t commit to the game as much as I would like; but looking at him, listening to him, and the frustrations of not being able to play the game but really wanting to, then I know I will play football ’til I drop. I will not choose to stop. I have had to alter my levels of expectations of myself, alter my goals, come to terms that I am not as good as I used to be. But while I have breath, and the ability to run about a pitch, I will do so, knowing that with that come the frustrations of feeling a failure at times. Because part of the love of the game has to be about losing and failing. Because without them you can never appreciate winning. And to win and lose you have to play. As Michael Jordan once said, ” I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life…and that is why I suceed.” Play because you can. Play because others can’t. C xxx

  3. I agree with the last comment. I dont think you should ever hang up the Nike Air Jordans! Basketball will always be apart of you and maybe you should think about sharing your love and knowledge of it, the way Mr lay did! x

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