It’s JUST a game of dribbling, passing, shooting, boxing out, rebounding, fouling, pressing, losing, and winning.
It’s JUST a handful of months out of the calendar year devoted to lifting, conditioning, ball handling, and pushing oneself to achieve more than the day before.
It’s JUST a day here and a night there spanning several weeks gathered together with coaches and teammates sharing meals and laughs.
It’s JUST watching film, checking tweets and snaps, and scouting your competition.
It’s JUST putting yourself out there in front of fans who will both celebrate your successes and ruthlessly judge your every move, decision, and game stat.
It’s JUST a span of three days out of 365 total throughout the year.
It’s JUST something you can’t really describe until you experience it.
Here we are, baby. State basketball is right around the corner.
I’ve written before about the Bellevue West Thunderbirds advancing to the big show. I’ve interviewed their head coach, Doug Woodard, who also happens to be my father-in-law.
Yes, in the grand scheme of life and with everything happening in our world, it’s easy to question how young adults playing a game can mean so much to so many.
Yet the older I get, the more I appreciate the unbridled joy of it all.
It is a privilege to be able to witness young people working towards and achieving a common goal together. Away from screens, virtual gaming, and online judgment.
This is not only their experience. It is shared by young fans looking up to them with wide eyes of admiration. It is shared by a community that rallies behind them in their chase for the ultimate title.
This is the time of year that you never truly know what can happen, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying.
This is the time of year that you see young athletes’ dreams within reach. When you cheer ferociously for your own team. When you nod your head in admiration for the talent they play against.
This is the time of year when older generations – myself included – live extra vicariously through their offspring.
Only eight teams remain in Nebraska’s NSAA Class A competition and, in one week from today, that group will begin the journey of survival on the hardwood.
Good luck to Millard South, Omaha Central, Bellevue West, Kearney, Lincoln Pius X, Creighton Prep, Lincoln East, and Omaha Bryan.
Written by Heidi Woodard