STORY BY CARLY GRENFELL
In the spirit of Halloween, I got to thinking about how I could possibly relate the holiday to basketball.
This one had me stumped for a while.
Believe it or not, the two do indeed have some things in common. So here is my drastic attempt to make something out of nothing. Prepare to be amazed.
To this day, I can remember some of the best costumes my siblings and I wore as kids. I was everything from Casper the Friendly Ghost, to a vampire and your standard green-faced witch. My sister was a mouse one year and the Queen of Hearts the next.
But what stands out the most is the Halloween of 2004 (don’t quote me on the year).
My brother, thanks to the crafty hands of my mom, was a robot.
Let’s just say he was drowning in cardboard boxes. Trying to walk normally was more challenging than it should have been.
To his disappointment, he had to explain what he was at nearly every house he went trick-or-treating at. At age 10 that is pretty insulting. But as far as I’m concerned, the pictures are still priceless.
The symbolism behind a story like this is two-fold. The first being that sometimes things (costumes, games, life) don’t always turn out like you imagine them to, and the second is that we can’t be afraid to experience ambiguity. Although both of these perspectives can be tough pills to swallow, it can often be the secret to success.
We all have different outlooks on life, whether it is a glass half full or half empty.
Sometimes we anticipate the worst, and the opposite happens. Sometimes we look for the good in every bad situation. Other times we search for anything to complain about. The common denominator between each of these approaches falls on the picture. However colorful it may be, we paint in our minds.
My brother likely imagined a much more glamorous and obvious looking robot costume. When my mom’s crafting did not quite meet his expectations, he experienced frustration.
This example could not align more perfectly with life as a college athlete. Every athlete has expectations to win, to stay healthy, to be a great teammate, to be a role model, to get better and to win a championship. But in reality, we never quite know what to expect. Things happen. Life happens. Fear of this ambiguity is where we run into trouble.
We have no choice but to embrace what we do not know and channel our energy elsewhere.
My brother faced ambiguity head-on and he didn’t even know it. Not to say that he had an epiphany because of Halloween 10 years ago, but he still had the courage to tell every person who asked him he was a robot.
To me, the worst way to deal with ambiguity is to run away from it. It is awesome that we can dream and imagine what we want life to be like, even when we have the human instincts to know it will not always work out the way we want it to. We’ve all been disappointed before. But the dreams that do come true make those moments even better.