Basketball has always been a significant part of my life. I fell in love at a young age and the rest is history.
When I decided playing college basketball was what I wanted to do, there were steps I had to take to get there. The first and biggest step was playing AAU basketball for a team called the Cornhusker Shooting Stars. I tried out for the team in the spring of my sophomore year in high school. There were several teams I could make: the lower, less-serious Regional Team, or the top team called Bison-Judd. Needless to say, I did not make the top team.
My tryout was about as horrific as it gets. I honestly remember bouncing the ball off my foot at one point, and never seemed to recover from it. I sat in the stands with my parents at the conclusion of the tryout hoping for the best. The team I made did not travel as much as Bison-Judd and only had about a week’s worth of required practices.
I decided it would make more sense to embrace the opportunity I had in front of me. I attended the practices twice a week and found myself competing against some of the best players in the state of Nebraska. It ended up that a girl from Bison-Judd quit about a month into practices- and I was next in line. It was probably one of the most rewarding things that ever happened to me during that two year stretch before college.
Maybe to some, being rejected on a “top” team would not be considered failure. But to a degree, it was in my mind. To this day I still consider it a blessing in disguise. It taught me to embrace any opportunity you get. It taught me perseverance. And above all, it taught me how powerful a second chance can be if you approach it with the right attitude. The talent I went against, and the exposure I encountered from a recruiting standpoint, were great. But the challenges and the growth were what made it so special.