Segunda-feira, 21/5/2018 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

From Waterboy to Captain: My life as a basketball player

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Everyone who plays a varsity sport has a similar, but different experience. Some experience winning at the highest level, while some never experience winning at all. My time as a Gull Lake basketball player has been the most demanding, painful, toughest part of my life; with that being said, it has also been the most rewarding, memorable and happiest time of my life. I have learned what it is like to work for something you believe in, and to fight for those whom you believe in. Gull Lake basketball has positively changed my life forever, and I am eternally grateful for everyone in the program who has seen me grow from the very beginning.

As a young boy, I became very involved, being the waterboy for the varsity team from kindergarten to sixth grade. I was able to see, first-hand and behind the scenes, some of the best teams to ever play at Gull Lake. My favorite memory during this time was easily being the waterboy for the team that made it to the Breslin Center to play in the state semifinals. I was able to see, perhaps, the greatest team to ever play at Gull Lake, matchup against Lansing Sexton and future Michigan State and NBA star, Denzel Valentine.

The last time I ever put on the Gull Lake basketball jersey. District semi-finals vs. Lakeview.
Photo by Claire Halpin.

Although the memories growing up were fun, the greatest memories came from my time as a player in the Gull Lake basketball program. I remember walking into the gym for my first open gym as a high schooler and the coaches actually had to kick freshman and sophomores out because there wasn’t enough room for that many kids. The juniors and seniors, alone, took up all three courts and still had lines of kids waiting to play. That was the last time I really saw a community interest in basketball until my senior year.

Of the four years, my sophomore season brought the most pain and hardships. I pushed through my season after being suspended for an off-court altercation, later dealing with immense trauma inside my family, with pressures escalated by the constant bickering and rumor spreading by people in the community and even within my peers. The only thing I knew to do was to work it off, and so I did. In our last game, I was finally able to start. I took full advantage of the opportunity and had 12 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists in three quarters. For some reason still unknown to me to this day, I did not play in the fourth quarter. After the game, coach Sprague came up to me and told me to be in the gym after school on Monday, I would be playing with the varsity team for the playoffs.

Coming off of my sophomore year, I thought I would glide through tryouts the next season and have a spot on the team, I was completely wrong. I failed to work on my game during the offseason and was barely offered a spot on the team. At first I was very discouraged, but later channeled my emotions to be the most supportive teammate I could possibly be. Although I did not play as much during my junior year, I made the most of my time on the team and was voted best team attitude by my teammates.

Finally, the greatest year of basketball I have ever experienced, my senior season. From the time baseball season ended in the spring, until the time I wrote this article, basketball was the only thing on my mind. I was elected team captain by coach Sprague and made it my number one priority to lead the team by example and through constant support. The season was long and the work was hard, but every bit of it was worth it. Although we finished with an overall record of 6-15, we never gave up, no matter the situation or the score.

I have been blessed with the opportunity of growing up through a single program for my whole childhood, and I am so thankful to everyone who supported me along the way. My time as a member of the Gull Lake basketball program will never be forgotten or taken for granted. Although the road was not always the easiest, I was never alone in my journey. To my teammates: This has easily been the greatest time of my life, and I thank you boys for being constant supporters of me. Each one of you guys has a bright future, and I know you will go on to do great things in this world. You will always have my support, and I wish you the best in whatever you do.

To my coaches: Every one of you has taught me something bigger than basketball, and I will always cherish the times I spent on your teams and the lessons you taught me. Coach Sprague, I will forever be grateful for you taking a chance on a tall, skinny kid with a short temper. From the times I was fighting in GLYBA and summer camp, right up until my final game as a part of your team, you have given me the greatest opportunity a kid could ever ask for. You have been one of the most influential figures in my life, and I hope that someday I am able to change lives the way you’ve changed mine.

To my community: Thank you for the endless support of me and my family, it means more than you will ever know, I will always be grateful.

To myself: There’s a lot of things you could have done differently, but the great thing about life is that it does go on. Yeah you could have worked a little bit harder and done a little bit better, but there’s nothing you can do about that now. All you can do is imply that hard work and success from here on out. It’s been a fun ride on this basketball journey, but you have your whole life ahead of you, let’s have some fun.

Noah Throop

This is my third year on staff, my second as Sports Editor. I am a senior at Gull Lake and plan to attend the University of Alabama next year and major in accounting. I play basketball and baseball and was selected as captain of the varsity basketball team for the coming season. I have a passion for sports and writing about them and look forward to a great year of writing.


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