Los Angeles has been up in flames the last week.
For those of you who don’t know where Skirball is— it’s in UCLA’s backyard.
Most of the coaching staff lives in Bel-Air. Kari Korver does too. I live right across the street.
Coach Tony was told to evacuate his house. Coach Cori and Coach Shannon were told to be on high alert. The charter flight to Stillwater, Oklahoma was on the agenda to fly the team out the next day. They weren’t sure what to do.
Sometimes in life we think we have it all planned out. We anticipate our schedules will dictate the next 24 hours, but then we wake up with the sniffles, news declaring immediate evacuation due to a fire that has spread overnight, or a phone call from a friend describing a sudden injury that has stripped him/her from their everyday routine.
I can speak on behalf of many when I say that because of basketball I am prepared for the unexpected.
I am ready for the future that is so unfamiliar, so unpredictable, so fragile.
My little brother flew into town today with a boot strapped to his foot. He sprained his ankle in last night’s game.
Healthy all year until one minor misstep.
Lucky for Luke, he’s only missing a couple games.
Unlucky for me, it’s his one road trip out west and he won’t be playing in any of the three California games.
I don’t know how parents do it.
The heartbreak that we kiddos cause our parents after an injury, or simply the fact that some of us live a million miles away from mom and dad, makes it incredibly hard for them to cope after sacrificing 18 years of their income towards overly priced Batman band-aids, Bactine, and chicken noodle soup when our tummies were acting up.
College athletics isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.
With the game winning jumper at the buzzer, comes the devastating loss in OT.
With the start of a prosperous season brewing, comes a torn ACL midway through the first half.
Basketball isn’t just a game.
It can be so much more if you let it.
It can teach you how to cope, how to prioritize, and how to persevere.
Lindsey Corsaro and Chrissy Baird were hurt all of last season.
They are some of my best friends. Kari’s too. Neither of them got to play with us our senior seasons.
For Chrissy, after a tumultuous year and a half long absence from the game she loves, she has officially been cleared to play again.
For Lindsey, after sitting out all of her freshman year, she was cleared to play at the start of season.
Two games in she sprained her ankle.
Her mom and dad were in the stands. They flew all the way out from Indiana. Just to see their baby girl hobble back into the training room at the start of the second half.
Her parents had booked flights for the Baylor and UConn games that following weekend.
Her Uncle Bill and Aunt Martha had booked flights to come to Vegas for Thanksgiving the weekend after that.
And in a blink of an eye— it all came crashing down.
It’s hard for the parents who witness their children get hurt.
It’s hard for them to leave their precious child in some trainer's hands in a far away state to recover without them.
But what’s hardest is getting back up again, going through the grueling rehab process, and making the most of what you have while you’re healing.
What’s hard is learning through the pain, focusing internally, and taking the necessary steps to maintain a growth mindset through one’s hardship.
Basketball prepares you for life.
It prepares you for the unexpected.
It prepares you for the fires.
Los Angeles is tough; Lindsey is tough; Chrissy is tough; Luke is tough.
These fires won’t consume them. They’ll fight back and rise from the ashes.
Basketball taught them to.