Senior Column: I’m a quitter

I am a quitter.

On my third day at Duke school in seventh grade, I decided to join the cross country team. I ran at two practices and quickly realized it was not for me. I was in a lot of pain, and after two days I quit.

In seventh grade I joined the basketball team. I hadn’t played on a team in four years at that point, and really had no idea if I was any good.

I quickly found out the answer to that. I was terrible.

After five practices, I went up to Coach Eddy in tears. 

“I can’t do it,” I told him. “I’m terrible at basketball. I hate this.”

So I quit.

A few days later, Coach Eddy approached me with an idea. He wanted me to stay on the team as a manager. I’ve always loved basketball, and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to be around the game without worrying about not playing well.

After about a week of observing practices and helping out, I started to think of ways we could run our plays differently and some new drills to try practice.

I suggested them to Eddy, and he immediately implemented them. A few days later, he asked if I would take the role of an assistant coach. 

He let me choose the starting lineups and make all substitutions. I was worried that my peers wouldn’t support me having a coaching role, but it was the complete opposite. I ended up being a bridge between them and our coach 

I found my passion for basketball, and sports in general, during those two middle school seasons.

When I got to Riverside, I knew I wanted to stay involved with basketball. I’m sure Coach Strickland was confused when I approached him for the first time saying that I was interested in being a manager and had coaching experience. 

I helped coach a bit with the JV team during my freshman and sophomore year, but most of my time was spent working on the overall gameday experience. 

Unable to find anyone else to announce the games, I decided to give it a try with the expectation that it would only be for the basketball season.

Announcing ended up being a passion of mine for the last year and a half. I try my hardest to be at every home game across all sports to announce starting lineups. It brings a different level of excitement at the beginning of games, and knowing that I am a part of that makes it worth it.

One of the highlights of my time at Riverside is the 3v3 basketball tournament. This was a far-fetched idea of mine that with the help of administration, athletic staff, and Pirate Athletics Media I got to see come to life. 

It brought the whole school together for a week. Whether they were playing, coaching, helping run the tournament, or just watching, hundreds of students were involved.

While so much of my time throughout high school was spent around basketball, the second half of my senior year ended up centered around volleyball. I decided to start a men’s volleyball team, with the intention for it to be something fun to do with friends during my senior year. Somehow, we ended up winning fourteen games.

Volleyball was the perfect way to close out my time at Riverside. It provided me a chance to spend more time with my friends while also discovering how much I enjoy the sport. 

I wasn’t done quitting, though. For the first six games of the season, I was a player who came off the bench only to serve. In our last game before spring break, neither of our coaches were going to be there. I agreed to coach the game, and we swept Eno River 3-0. 

While I never tried to teach volleyball technique, I realized that coaching and managing rotations would benefit the team more than having me as a player. So I “quit” again.

I’ll be attending NC State in the fall, majoring in Sports Management with a minor in Coaching Education. I’ll be a part of the men’s basketball manager staff, and separate from NC State, I have been named the Central Carolina Region Men’s Volleyball Commissioner.

Who knows what I’ll quit in the future, but hopefully it’ll continue to help me discover my skills, interests, friends and future.

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