On and off the Court
March 2004

“On and off the Court,” New Era, Mar. 2004, 46

On and off the Court

“Play some defense! Make your free throws! Run harder!”

The smell of sweat and the sound of whistles filled the high school gym. Basketball tryouts came around quickly that November.

I wanted to quit the team. The previous year our team had gone to the California State playoffs, but this season would be much different. I reluctantly ended up as the only senior on the varsity team and was asked to serve as team captain. It was okay at first, but after a while, losing got really old, really fast. I started having a major attitude, and it was reflected in the way I performed.

It wasn’t just about basketball though—I was struggling off the court as well. I hated the idea of having to stick to rules and schedules. Each day started with the dreaded five A.M. alarm clock, dark mornings in our broken-down Volvo, and early-morning seminary. Then it was off to school, with tons of hard classes and annoying people. Playing ball was not my first priority, when so many other things seemed to be weighing me down.

After a few months, I was trying to decide if I should just quit the basketball team. I talked to my dad about it. “Your attitude can change everything if you let it,” he said. I didn’t know what he meant at first. I wasn’t the one making us lose! Then I heard a talk in Young Women class that really hit home. It was about having a positive attitude and how it not only affects your situation but also others around you.

From that point on, I decided to change the way I was looking at things both in and out of basketball. I started to go to Mutual again and tried to support other youth activities, and I prayed that I could be more optimistic in seminary and school.

Most importantly, I realized I could learn from trials and become better through them. Instead of complaining about losing, I started working harder at practice. Soon others noticed, and it helped the whole team become more unified because everyone saw that I was continuing to try even though we were still not winning.

Our basketball team didn’t win a single game that year, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. With a change in attitude, both on and off the court, I learned to be a more positive person in dealing with difficult things. I did not miraculously make our team better, but a change in my attitude really affected the younger players around me. The season was successful because of the friendships we formed and the way we were still able to have fun when most people would have given up.

  • Calista Glenn is a member of the BYU 96th Ward, Brigham Young University 10th Stake.

Illustrated by Sam Lawlor