‘Basketball has shaped my life probably more than anything else besides God’

Leaving Texas and coming to Western Kentucky University was a difference-maker for me. Coming from a large city to a little town changed how I view things in life. 

I came here on a basketball scholarship in 2008 and what a change it was. I chose WKU not only because of the basketball program but because of the atmosphere and environment, as well as the school itself. I remember when I first stepped foot on this campus living in Bemis with my best friend and teammate Vanessa Obafemi. She also helped me with the change. We both decided to come to school together, and in a blink of an eye, we now are graduating together. She was a huge part of helping me adjust to the next chapter of my life, and I am thankful for her. 

I made many friends and even joined a few organizations on campus such as CAB, ACHESA and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated. I thought that since I was the “tall girl,” people would automatically think I played basketball and think ‘That’s all she knows,’ assuming that most people think athletes get a lot of leeway. But that’s by far not the case. But, my question to you is, “When you look at a basketball, what do you see?” Most would see an orange, sphere-shaped rubber ball. There are black lines and real leather. If you look closer, you would even see the size of the ball which you are playing with. A basketball could be just a toy for many or even represent a release for others, but for me, it means a lot more. 

A basketball represents my blood, sweat, tears, passion, sacrifice and, most of all, a sense of belonging, like a family. In these past four years in my life, there were only four things I devoted my life to — God, family, school and basketball. 

Basketball has shaped my life probably more than anything else besides God. Basketball has instilled in me a vicious will to achieve and embrace my ambitions instead of fearing them. Basketball gave me an open opportunity to try something new. New opportunities and experiences are not such a big deal anymore. From academics to personal matters, the lessons that I have learned from basketball have impacted my life in so many ways. 

Learning happens in so many places and in so many ways. I learned how to become a leader in many ways. I learned many hard lessons in life. I learned that you can’t change everything and that life isn’t fair. I was forced to realize that failure is part of life and that it happens to all of us. These are all teachings that are irreplaceable and valuable. The lessons that I learned are ones that I will use for the rest of my life from my experiences. It is something that you can use on more than just a test for school. That is what real life learning is about, and in one way or another, we have all experienced it. 

Being here these past four years wasn’t always easy and fun, but it was a life-changing experience, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to do it.