“Whatever emotion you’re after, whatever vehicle you pursue, whatever your nirvana is, I have found it’s only an attempt by your brain to meet one or more of six human needs. 1) Comfort 2) Variety 3) Significance 4) Love/Connection 5) Growth 6) Contribution.” – Tony Robbins
Until now, I haven’t known what Basketball has meant to me. I’ve been playing for about 12 years, since freshmen year of High School. I figure it’s somewhere around 3,300 of the 4,380 days!
About 4 years ago, I thought it was just a stress reliever, an outlet, or coping mechanism. You know like yoga, playing an instrument, acting, dancing, reading, or whatever your vehicle is to release built up thoughts or emotions.
Recently, I’ve discovered it’s more than that. In your own life, do you have something that you do so often or care about so much that it almost seems bigger than it is?
Like Tony Robbins illuminates, Basketball is a level of comfort (or certainty) in my life. It ‘s like a friend who’s there for you in good and bad times. When I’m playing, I don’t think about anything else except being in the moment.
Cue: The Basketball Feeling…
Last week the gym was empty and so I picked up a ball. Headphones in, Major Lazer’s “Lean On” stimulating my concentration, the feeling that came to fruition was remarkable. Shoulder width and spread apart, feet locked in behind the free throw line. I spun the basketball in reverse off a dribble towards me. I bounced it twice and got my grip. I bent my knees, released the ball, and followed through with the sling of my right wrist. I repeated this motion many times in the past but the feeling that was about to come made me feel alive, unstoppable, and confident…
I spun the ball, bounced it twice, bent the knees, released, and followed through! I made about 25 in a row and I started to feel really good. In my head, I was like “yea I got this, let’s go!” My inner Ronda Rousey came out and I felt like I was ready to take MJ on like Jimmy Butler a couple days ago! To ignite the fire and enhance this moment, the gym was empty but all of the sudden… this really cute girl was in the rafters on an elliptical machine.
Dopamine levels rising, endorphins running, adrenaline pumping… I took a deep breath and in the next moment my concentration levels heighten to a point where my eyes could’ve cut through steel. Feet, knees, core engaged, shoulders, head, arms, wrists, fingers, released and followed through! I made another 25 in a row and the feeling was like seeing fire in the sky! My mind and body were in sync and wouldn’t you believe it… I made another 25… 75 in a row! I then missed a few and realized that there were now 2 younger boys sitting on the bleachers watching me with eyes glued to my routine. They were in awe and I told them, “Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.”
I took another breath, relaxed, and re-entered what I thought was going to be a séance! That hour was a moment in time where I felt invincible. Basketball was more than a game… Yes, it has to some point fulfilled the need of certainty but it also has given me a sense of connection in my life.
“I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.” – Joseph Campbell
Campbell brings it all together. Basketball is a feeling of being alive! My hope is you have your “basketball” and invite you today to hold hands with the ones you love as you cross the street to reach your nirvana. Feel alive and appreciate time.