I miss playing the game that I love. It is the game that I grew up with--from casual plays on the streets, sports fest at school, to even the nerve-wracking do-or-die games during tournaments. I miss the intensity; when the time is ticking and the crowd cheering and screaming wildly, my heartbeat goes faster and I can feel the fire in my heart that keeps me burning.
Basketball is my passion, the one that gives me the excitement throughout the day. Basketball pushes me to a whole other level because, in order to be the best, you need to hustle and bustle. It shapes me to become the best that I can be. But most often, there will be challenges that strike you hard and pin you to the ground, crying because of severe pain. The pain that these hindrances give may come in any aspect--physical, mental, emotional, etc. Unfortunately, for me, the havoc has come onto my knee. I was injured during a friendly game and caused my right knee to be dislocated. The first thing that came to my mind was the fact that I would not be able to play for a long time and help my team win. It was heartbreaking for me because I knew already it would cost a lot of time for rest and no action on the court. But, I never gave up and promised myself to play even stronger after the healing process.
This experience has taught me how to stand up, endure the pain, move forward, and keep improving. Basketball makes me happy, when I am sad, angry, alone. It gives me peace and surely it became my home. The basketball court is my sacred space where I can be myself. It has also taught me to become my own cheerleader. Even if others bring me down and hate me, I know for myself that I have the potential. And that alone gives me courage and confidence for everything; let alone the support I get from family and friends. It became a memory now since I need to prioritize my studies and due to lack of training, my game has changed a lot. It’ll be hard for me to get back because of the pain that sometimes I feel in my knee when I play hard and consecutively. But one thing is for sure, all the learning and memories will remain in me.
Basketball is not only a game for me; it is life-changing. It has made me learn more about myself, capabilities, and values. I am not the same person last year or any time ago. Basketball transforms me into a better person. Once you stop moving, that is when you lose the battle. Basketball is a part of me, it is who I am. It is where my heart is.
First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.
The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.
There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.
If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.
And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.
Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.
Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”