Annapolis of all place has a pretty legit summer league for guys that want to play basketball.
Truxtun park is outside and it’s rugged and lacks most of the creature comforts most players are use to.
To me it was like walking into my back yard. I grew up playing outside on the concrete with only driveway lights.
During my summer school stints at the Naval Academy (every year because I sucked at school) I would go to Truxtun Park and try to pick up games where I could.
The first time I went there I was excited…….then I was crushed.
I’ll give you a bit more context. Quite a few guys from Maryland, Georgtown and other DI schools that were relatively close would show up here.
As well as a lot of guys that were just “playground players”. Guys that would never play past high school for any number of reasons but were really good and could make you look foolish in front of the crowd.
Think “White men can’t jump” or “Above the rim” and you’ll get a pretty good feeling for the scene.
Not a lot of 5’11’ white kids from suburbia who plan to go into the military haha. I loved it.
The first night I went there and just tried to get on a team to get a game in.
I got turned down by a team with four guys………..
It was like th Forrest Gump bus scene where all the seats were “taken” hahaha
Talk about a slap in the face 🙁
I went back for several days determined at this point to prove myself and show these cats that I could actually play.
After a couple nights there I bumped into a guy that I knew who played a little semi pro (not like Will Ferrell) and that I had played against a little bit during our preseason.
We chattted a bit and he asked me who I was playing for. I chuckled and told him nobody wanted to let me run with them so I was trying to figure it out.
He laughed and said something about just keep trying.
As we were leaving I gave one last attempt to a group that was warming up and they gave me the same answer “Nah we’re good”.
My buddy just yelled over “You’re gonna wanna pick him up, I’m just sayin”
To say they reluctantly took me in was an understatement. (there was an unspoken feeling of “just pass the ball if you get it”)
Fortunately for me this is pretty much how it always worked and I had been through this on many teams before playing AAU or at All Star Camps.
The game started and I went full send and decided the first time I touched the ball I was taking a shot regardless of where I was.
I took a long three from the top of the key that banked in. Insert a crowd wide eye roll because everyone knows when that happens you didn’t mean to do that.
I didn’t care and shrugged my shoulders and laughed. I came back a couple series later and scored on some back to back plays and the game went on.
I have no idea if we won, but I got the nod of approval after that. But I had to earn it, even if I deserved it and was better than a lot of those guys.
The respect of other players is alwasy something that I took very seriously and something I thought was the most important thing you could have.
I always played harded against guys who didn’t think I was that good. It made me mad.
Respect has to be earned every day.
Those achievements we want aren’t supposed to be easy.
Nobody really cares what we’ve done in the past or where we came from.
They want us to prove it right here, right now.
Life isn’t fair and it isn’t supposed be.
I’ve found that things are much easier once we stop expecting things to come to us.
Once we buy into the fact that hard work is what pays off things get pretty simple.
Stop being upset because people don’t automatically give you credit.
Stop being upset because that title or job wasn’t handed to you.
Stop assuming that the best case scenario is going to happen.
Those things may happen, but they are rare and they should be.
The rest of the time we should be head down eyes up moving one step at a time.
Nothing worth achieving is easy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the process.