As the years go by throughout my life, I always seem to come across one question… Who am I? Many thoughts occur in my mind, although I seem to be certain I have it all figured out; I always tend to second doubt myself. But this time, I am pretty sure who I’ve become. You see, I must thoroughly elaborate my past before I can explain the present. Therefore, you being able to understand what I had to endure to become the man I am today. It all started long ago with a basketball, but soon it became the best basketball player I could be. I was approximately 3 years old when I first got my hands on a particular ball. But this wasn’t just any ball, no. It was a basketball. And as soon as I touched it, I knew I was trapped. By the time I was six, I knew I wanted this game in my life forever. To a six year old, that is very rare. My mother would always say that wherever I would go, or whomever I was with, I always had a basketball in my hands. Growing up, all I ever wanted to do was to play basketball at a high level. The highest level I could ever reach. I honestly didn’t pay much attention to cars, girls, money, popularity, school, etc. Now, I always knew school was very important to my family and me. Education comes first by the way I was raised. But deep down inside, in my heart I only had one goal I wanted to accomplish. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way… As you start to grow and understand how life works as a kid, you only have three things to focus on. One being respect your parents and elders, the second is to do well in school, and of course the last one is the golden rule; which is to treat others the way you would like to be treated. In all honesty, I didn’t really give much perspective. Not that I was a delinquent, but like I said before. I only had one thing on my mind. I learned and understood those three rules that apply to kids at a young age by the time I was 11. At this age, I was enrolled in a peewee basketball league. As soon as my team had our first practice, I was extremely unprepared for what I had to embrace that day. My teammates and I were sitting down waiting inside the YMCA Gymnasium. Out of the blue, the gym doors open harder than a gorilla smashing the glass walls trying to get out of its exhibit. The only difference was, this thing was human. We were in awe to see something so normal yet, so strange. As the figure walks in, I can smell that awful cigar scent he carried. He approaches us and just when he couldn’t get any closer he stops, looks at us and says, “Welcome, I am Coach Mike. And before I teach you about the game of basketball, you must learn how to sacrifice time, become disciplined, and be responsible.” Ever since that day, I have been a responsible young man. Taking care of my actions and duties, and disciplined in what I’m willing to work for. These traits are stuck with me to this day. I am glad I consider myself a respectful young man with responsibilities, and also willing to sacrifice my time to help others. I’ve learned plenty of valuable characteristics that describe who I am. All thanks to Coach Mike. What I’m trying to make you understand is that with every basketball experience I’ve encountered, I’ve gain something from someone that molded me, and helped me become who I am today. By the time I reached middle school, I knew a vast amount about the game of basketball. I was more ambitious and dedicated to my dream goal. I just needed some help to get there. I made the basketball team as a 6th grader. Mind you, there was no JV team in my school, only Varsity. I was the youngest and most inexperienced kid on the squad. The team was mostly consisted of 7th and 8th graders. As a 5 foot 7 6th grader, my teammates look like giants standing on ladders. But I was hungry to learn from them. I was always trying to steal their moves, trying to steal their knowledge. Not just in basketball, but off the court as well. It took a while for my teammates to consider me “one of them.” But I didn’t care; I was there to better myself as an athlete. And they saw that! Which in their eyes, I was doing all wrong. One day after school, practice was just over and I’m getting ready to pack my bags and go home. All of a sudden, the team circles around me. All I see is a bunch of sweaty faces and their eyes all focused on me. I was expecting the worst. Surprisingly, I was mistaken. They all had heard I was struggling in school, and they wanted to give me advice. The captain of the team stepped out of the circle, came to me and said, “What’s up man, we heard about you failing to maintain good academic standards. You got good skills in ball but without grades you won’t make it anywhere. We see you work hard on your game, but you’ve got to work twice as hard in class. I’m just here to tell you to pick up the slack because school does matter!” From that point on, I’ve maintained a 3.5 GPA ever since I got to college. I’m grateful I had teammates that cared about my future and me. I guess you can consider me good student in the years past. I also refer myself to be motivated to high academic expectations.