At the end of our game against the CAC on Sunday, I felt really shitty. My body felt like it had gone through a war and my mind was frustrated: both with my team and myself.
As I was turning to leave after changing my shoes and putting on my pants, Cari came up beside me. I didn’t see her since most of the people had already left and she surprised me with her bright red shirt. She said to me:
“Cinthia, you should know that you played well today. You got a lot of rebounds and you went for the ball. I noticed that there were moments when you lost your concentration and that seemed to be the same moment that you got passed the ball. You made mistakes, but you also did a lot of good things.”
I hugged her and felt some tears in my eyes.
Getting to know my team is taking time and patience. I’m trying to understand what I need to change in order to be the best player and also what factors are out of my control within the team. There is a part of me that is very sensitive to comments that get whirled my way.
Sometimes they are from an honest and good intentioned place and help me improve. For example, Carla: “Cinthia, make sure you stay up on the key and post screens to the wings.” Or Oso, “When you receive the ball in the paint, get a good strong hold and keep it close to your chest to protect it. Wait before you let it go again: first assess how far your opponent is before deciding whether to pass or go for a shot.” These suggestions are helpful and positive.
Then there are other comments that are flung from across the court. That are quick and incomprehensible and that originate from frustration. Currently, I feel like I’m receiving more of these than anything and they leave me feeling confused and lost about my progress as a ball player. Having the bad pointed out more than the good can be disconcerting.
Yesterday, I realized that I too have to start communicating my thoughts and feelings to my team, including the bad. This means giving praise when I see a team mate do something I find admirable, and also working out a way of getting across constructive criticism (or maybe just things that bug me) to my team mates, even if it isn’t the most comfortable situation for me. Initiating this interchange might bring us closer together and, in return, I might receive that acceptance I’m looking for.
Don’t I have every right to demand acceptance from my team mates? Is it okay to expect support and love from them? Isn’t that the stuff amazing teams are made of?
Over the phone, Oso said to me: “You have to communicate how you feel! You won’t necessarily generate a negative vibe if you tell your team what is on your mind.”
I knew he was right and while on the bus I was thinking about how Cari’s comment made me feel. It cost her nothing, but to me it meant a lot; it immediately made everything better.
“The reason you feel so sore is because you are now starting to really play with your heart. That takes more energy.” Oso voice was soft.
“Yeah… maybe.” I replied. I was lying horizontally on my couch with Mara, my cat, purring beside me.