I haven’t talked much about my new role, or what feels like a new life, as a basketball coach. I’ve been busy working and ignoring the impending season, actually, so I haven’t thought much about it.
My transition from a player to a coach has been gradual. I decided to stop playing in June, made it official in July, got a coaching job in August, started doing some recruiting in September, and we started practices in October. We’re in November now and it seems this is where the transition will really begin.
I’ve still been playing pickup, three on three games, and doing shooting workouts with my roommate so it hadn’t really hit me that I wanted to play a real, competitive basketball game until this past Saturday. It was then that our basketball team had their first scrimmage.
We were driving to the game and it just suddenly hit me that the upcoming game wasn’t mine. I started thinking about how just last year I would have spent that time on the bus pumping myself up with music. I tried to shake those thoughts from my head but it wasn’t easy.
Then, sitting on the bench, watching the other team, one by one, make their way to the court for warm-ups, I started to reminisce. I was reminded of how I used to feel just eight months ago.
I used to hate game day when I was a player. I hated the buildup. I hated how slow the hours leading up to the games always went. It was worse in Europe because I had nothing to do on game day but wait. No shoot around. No team meal. No classes. Just waiting.
Even warm-ups seemed to last forever. But on my first game-day as a coach I was a little jealous.
You might be thinking that I then started to regret my decision to retire from basketball and, at first, that’s what I wondered myself.
I don’t, though. I don’t regret it. It immediately became obvious to me that I could still miss competitive basketball while not regretting walking away from it.
I’m starting to see there are some things that you can miss while still knowing there is a reason they aren’t in your life: nap time, college parties, past relationships, and the tooth fairy, just to name a few.
I think understanding the difference between missing something and growing out of it is a big part of becoming an adult.
I miss competitive basketball games but I know I did the right thing. It came to the point, for me, that I was sacrificing too much to continue participating. I haven’t forgotten that and I’m going to have to keep reminding myself as I will remain sitting on the coaching side of the game.