Rejected

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This is a very hard post for me to write because I do not want to offend anyone, and I do not want to come off bitter at something just because I got rejected from it. People will believe what they want anyways, and if this post comes out controversial then I'm sorry, but I beg you not to leave hate. I'm all about hearing different opinions, but you can do that in a respectful way. Thanks.

Okay, so this post will be based off this post. Read that one first if you haven't already. At the end, it said we were considering a summer basketball league, and I am going to share that little story with you.

At the end of the league I was on in that post, my dad and I were talking about other options I may be able to consider before school basketball in 7th grade. He was talking to me about trying out for AAU which started around school basketball, but I had doubts about that because two basketball leagues at the same time? To some people that might be their everyday life, but that seems pointless to me. As if God Himself was opening up an opportunity, the next few days at school I heard there were tryouts to a travel team created by a family in the town. I had heard of it before and always thought it would be intense, but now I was starting to have an open mind. I texted my mom and dad about it, and they talked it over. They agreed to at least let me try.

Before I continue, let me explain this league a little. It was a little under $500. There were six tournaments ranging anywhere from Davenport to Omaha and then practices. This league ranges from girls and boys ages 3rd grade to 12th. Girls and boys have their own team. Now that you have some of the details to understand better, we can continue.

I was SO excited when told I could do it! March was calling my name! But as the weeks went by, I began to have doubts. What if I make it, and it's too intense? What if I make it, and the coaches are rude to me? What if I make it, and the girls are snobs? But most of all...

Aren't a hypocrite...? Is this even a good decision to be trying?

I talked to my mom a little about my concerns, and she agreed. We decided to pray about it. My dad knew this would help me, and I really wanted to get better. But I wanted to know if it was worth it.

At night, I told God it was ultimately His decision. I wasn't going to ask if I could please get this or the other way around. There would've been nothing wrong with that if I had, but truthfully? I didn't know what I wanted. I have never been on a travel league before, and intense intense intense had been drilled into my mind. I don't want to play intensely. I also DO NOT want to be ballerinas skipping around the court singing either, but I didn't want to be screamed at over a game. I didn't want my team to hate me if I missed a shot. And I could be wrong. That may never have happened. But you see? I have no clue what happens. Only God would which is why I let Him make the decision. He knew what would be best.

So come March, I was so freaked out about trying out. My dad took me to our middle school's gym, and he stayed with other parents the whole one and a half or so hours. I didn't know how intense the tryouts would be, and when we were told to line up this is the first thing the coach of our section says... 

"We're gonna do the blah blah drill, and we're not gonna stop until we make 20 shots in a row. Count em out loud. If someone misses we start over."

And my mental response to that would be...

"This is gonna be a long tryout."

I did pretty good during the drill. I missed maybe one right hand layup, and I actually nailed my left hands! Then we had to do longer shots, which I kinda flunked. It just wasn't a good day for that. I'll spare you the whole tryout and tell you some of the highlights. I nailed the dribbling pretty much. They were asking us to do two balls and everything. Scrimmage...eh. I wasn't horrible, that's for sure. I didn't let anyone shoot I was guarding that I knew of, and I got myself into a few jump balls. Running. No. But I wasn't last. My dad said I did great and honestly, I felt like I did great. I was pretty comparable with everyone, if not even better than some. I'm so not saying that to brag. Really.

We found out a week later whether I make it or not because there were other tryouts. The AAU girls had a tournament that day, so they went another day. Not all of the AAU girls tried out, just a few. And yeah, they made it. I had no clue whether I would make it or not. The tryout was intense. I did my best, and I did good. It was basically 50/50. The decision was still up to God.

Every day I got a little more anxious and would ask my mom when she got an email from them. My dad was too, and he really thought I stood a good chance. 

Finally one day, Mom said she got an email.

I quickly told her to read it to herself, and then give it to me. I could already tell by the stony expression on her face I was off. She handed the phone to me and immediately the sentence "This is the part I really hate" stood out. My heart was pounding, and I quickly read through. There was the usual speech they say when trying to make you feel better at the beginning of the email, which was nice, and then that sentence. I don't remember the email but the bottom line is no. I'm not on a team. I said, "Okay." Then I took Willy for a walk. I didn't cry. I didn't rage. I didn't ask God why. I asked God to make the decision, and He did. I meant it when I said it was up to Him, and the answer was no.

Just because God said no doesn't mean I necessarily couldn't have handled the league. It could have been other reasons too. But they were reasons I didn't really want to find out.

My mom came out later, and we talked a little. I told her about asking God, and then I talked to Dad on the phone and said the same thing. I'm not ashamed to say I didn't make the team. If I'm a wuss for being doubtful of it or not a sporty girl because I didn't make it, to heck with that. It doesn't matter to me. It really, truly doesn't. If you think that for one second, then everything I've thought about how shallow those leagues are is true. I was really hoping to be proved wrong, but unfortunately, I don't think I was. The tryouts were intense, and I'm not a newbie player for thinking that. My dad said that, my basketball coach on the other league said that. 

My question is why? Why does it have to be so intense? To prove you're good enough? That you can function under pressure? I. Don't. Get. It. They could have done the same drills without their speeches on how if someone misses.

I wanted to try this league because I was also curious about these travel leagues. I was so bitter at them for awhile and disagreed with them, and I wanted to see if I would be proven wrong. I don't think I was. I know I haven't actually been on one, but I have been to a tryout. A tryout that I did not expect to be easy, but a tryout I didn't feel needed to be training us to play basketball in the army. Which, that was just a drama queen statement. It wasn't that bad - sorry, but you get my point.

I may not be the "sporty girl" or the strongest girl on the team, but I don't go by worldly views, I go by God's. And here's the controversial section of the post. It's controversial because this is what I see at school, and the people at school doing this are probably not going to like what I have to say. But, I'm sorry. I'm not the only one who sees this. So what do I see...?

I see the sporty girls getting mega attention from everyone, it seems. Why? Just because they're on a travel league, and they can play under intense pressure? My friends and I have talents too. Writing. Acting. Smarts. Etc. Do we get recognized at school? Do our talents get recognized at school? Nope. Well, sometimes, but not compared to them. I've had a few people look at my blog in the middle of class, and I can never tell if they're being sarcastic or sincere about it... 

I like sports as much as the next girl, but I don't get what's the big hype with them in today's world. Looking at the scheme of life, they are games. Not life, a part of life. A game. And gosh, you don't know how many people I will turn off by saying that. Those that are turned off, though, are the ones who need to realize that. Click out of my blog if you can't handle that reality. I'm sorry. I totally believe in making the most out of your talents and working hard and loving basketball and such, but you guys have got to keep God first. That's the bottom line. If you had to choose between all the sports glory in the world or never being able to play basketball again, but there's always God... I wonder how many people would say they chose God, but then when it really came down to it, forfeit. I'm sure pretty much everyone!

I would be devastated if I had to make the choice between writing, but I would choose God, and I wouldn't be bluffing. I would choose Him because He is my Lord and Savior. I would do anything for Him. But also... Who's the one who gave you your talent? Who's the one who gives you the ability to play? You might want to consider that.

I get that sports work on a bunch of good character traits, but I'm only seeing the bad ones. I promise it's that way at school. I see basketball, big surprise, being life. I see cockiness and excluding. I also see the girls and boys receiving special attention. TOTALLY NOT KIDDING! In P.E. When they're class clowns. Also, certain girls have even appeared in yearbooks all together outside of sports. No one else's group was! I don't know who's behind that, but two words: Not. Equal. If their picture is in it, everyone's group picture should be. It's school after all. My gosh.

Like I said earlier, so many of these kids claim they have God, but by looking at them you'd never know. The boys only flirt with sporty girls. The girls only associate with sporty girls. Have a strong faith? Yeah? Please, show me.

Now, hold up. I'm not saying everyone has to go make a blog and not be in sports to show you have faith. Totally not what I am saying, and I'm not saying I'm perfect. Still, I don't purposely blow kids off just because of their sports title. That is a snob move and will only matter about five seconds after graduation, as a blogger I look up to mentioned. That goes for me, too. Being the best writer won't matter.

If you feel sports teach character traits (the good ones) how come you don't show them? I have seen kids paint this image. If you're in sports (travel leagues, please), then you're pretty cool.* If you're not, um... Nerd status. Geek status. Weirdo status. Insert the other "not cool" statuses. And only sports people can wear the sports clothes or else you look like a wannabe.**

*I have experienced this myself. In gym, we had our basketball unit. I happened to be with the sporty portion of the class in a game of Knockout. I won. That's pretty cool but okay. Immediately one of the girls is all like, "Oh are you going out for basketball next year?" and sucking up to me. I nonchalantly replied yes. To be honest, you would think something like that would flatter me. But it didn't. Instead, I felt even more irked. I thought, Is that what it takes to be noticed by you guys? is that what makes me a sophisticated person in your book?

I thought wow. If they were genuinely proud, thanks! But, I really doubt that was the case because I may as well have not been in the class to them the entire year. And now that the basketball unit is over, they've already dismissed me.

**Under Armour and Nike and Adidas and Columbia and The North Face is for anyone. It doesn't mean you have money. It doesn't mean you're rich. It doesn't mean you're sporty. It doesn't mean you're not sporty. It doesn't mean you're cool. So, for the life of me, STOP. I overheard a kid saying, "Just see if he's wearing Under Armour. If he is he's sporty." No comment. Sure, I get that they generally reflect a sportier style. But is it really necessary to think only sporty people can/should wear it?

If you disagree with this, and I used proof for each point, spare me the hate and prove me wrong. I wouldn't mind that. Really, I wouldn't. There ARE kids in sports who want to live for God or simply don't care about this extra crap, and I'm sorry. There may be two people out of the group who feel that way. If you feel like I'm accusing you, I'm not. I'm not saying the league title or the names of kids I could specifically point out for that reason. This isn't a post to spread gossip or drama, but if it does, I'm not deleting it. This is my opinion, and you can have yours too. However, maybe you should pay a little more attention to your ego and demeanor. 

I have a message to kids like me, because I sure think I'm not the only one who feels unrecognized and under credited sometimes at school.

You have got to stop worrying about what people think of your "titles". It is the best decision you will make. It is something I struggled with the whole dang year, and now that I let it go, I wished I would've done it sooner. I have never felt more free and in control of who I am. I have never felt closer to God. If you are called a nerd for not being in sports or a snob for expressing something like this, then you're only telling the cockier jocks this post has been proven true. You can even give them the link. Maybe they'll get a wake up call, or maybe I'll gain a few haters. That's okay. The more the merrier. Sparkle sparkles to everyone. 

One day, you guys, being the best athlete or writer won't matter. I'm not saying to not try, but there will be a day when Jesus comes back, and the world will end. All that will matter then is not by how far you took your talents but rather how far you took your talents to be a light. 

Our society's a mess, but there is hope. There is hope. I'm not just being optimistic. By all means, don't quit playing sports because of this. Don't drop out of your travel leagues. They are something I will never agree with, but I do get that I'm not the most serious athlete, and they have positives. I just wish I could see more of them from the people who claim they do.

Above all, guys, you're gonna do what you want to do, and some may just totally forget about this post. And that's okay, because I wrote this post for myself. I wrote this post for someone who needs a little sparkle, and there will always be sparkle. There will always be sparkle to those who trust God to blow some sparkle into their life. 

Sparkles,
Ashlee