My Beautiful Mistake

Anna LinAugust 17, 2022Who Am I?Awesome Moments

In life, we often find ourselves surrounded by different people, assimilating to the different circles of communities we have created for each scenario.

Because of our nature as social animals, humans can’t possibly survive well on our own. In many ways, we will try to find community, try to belong to a group of people, and attempt to “blend in,” as we take on the group's characteristics and try our best to earn their liking and eventual support.

School is one of the first obstacles we face to finding our community. We are forced to wade through the sea of cliques and friend groups and somehow manage to find and belong to one. But what happens when you make a mistake?

During my first few days as a sophomore in high school, I was asked an unexpected question, “Do you want to try out for the girl’s basketball team?” At first, I was extremely skeptical. Being completely uneducated about the sport, I weighed the pros and the cons and finally settled on the thought of “why not.” With my friend half forcing me and half convincing me, I tentatively handed my sign-up sheet to the coach. Even though I signed up for the team, actually getting in was never the plan. On the day of the tryouts, I was in turmoil. Should I do it or not? Ultimately giving in to my fears, I gave up. I excused myself from the tryout with the lame excuse of not feeling well and hid in the nurse’s office, relieved but disappointed in myself for running away.

Contrary to what I thought, my journey with the Fuhsing Girls Basketball Team didn’t end there. On the day the members of the team were announced, I scanned the names on the list, preparing to congratulate anyone who made the team. Upon looking at the list, a name immediately caught my eye and left me in a mix of surprise and confusion. It was my own.

Still caught in the emotions of this unexpected news, my friend explained to me that the coach took everyone who signed up, as she wanted as many people as possible to be in the first generation of the newly minted Fuhsing Girls Basketball Team. Still hesitant and considering making a run for it, I was forced down the stairs by my friend to meet the rest of the girls who signed up and made the team.

The moment I met eyes with the seniors of the basketball team, I knew I made the wrong decision; I was not supposed to be here. Here I was, standing with a band of girls, each with a firm stance and a fierce glare that showed their desire to finally have the chance to properly represent the school as girls with their sports, and then there was me, who only came because I was curious. Compared to them, I was nothing but a beginner who got in by pure luck.

The first practice officially began with the sound of a whistle, as we were ordered to form groups of three for a friendly competition in lay-ups. Panicking, I looked toward my other teammates and uttered a quick apology for the fool I would look like, as I had barely done a proper lay-up in my life. To my surprise, instead of being annoyed, my teammates laughed and reassured me to not be so nervous, and that this is what practices are for. And it was that sentence of encouragement that gave me the confidence to dare to try to pursue the unknown that was basketball.

The difference between me and the seasoned players of the team became more obvious as time went on. My lack of stamina and inability to even properly do a lay-up solidified my assurance that I was not meant to be a part of this. The distinct distance between me and the rest of the team became so obvious that it was almost embarrassing for me to admit that I was a part of the girls basketball team, a part of a group that hosts the most skillful players of basketball across the school.

By the first game, my incompetency was almost laughable, as I hid at the end of the bench to avoid being called on while the others begged for an opportunity to shine. Our opponent was another girls basketball team, and the most notable difference between us was our difference in experience. Although we had some skilled members, we were evidently on the losing side, as they played with such unity that we, a team with a mere four months of experience, could only dream of achieving. At the climax of the game, we were catching up to the other team with a mere four-point difference. The sharp trill of the whistle sounded, and another player switch was suggested as I watched the coach scan the bench, looking for a suitable candidate. Finally, her eyes rested on mine and I was pushed onto the court with someone whispering in my ear the opponent I was assigned to target. The chaos of the basketball game resumed as everyone scrambled for the ball and we desperately tried to score a point. In a fateful moment of luck, a member from the opposing team dropped the ball, and, sensing my chance, I swooped in to grab it and passed it along to my teammate. Although I wasn’t the one who made the final score, my friends all congratulated me as if I were, and that made me feel as if I was finally truly a part of my team.

If the experience of the Fuhsing Girls Basketball Team has taught me one thing, it is that I am painstakingly bad at basketball. I was undeniably the worst player, being the rustiest with handling the ball and the slowest one in races, but one thing I will never forget is the kind smiles and encouraging calls that are always present, yelling for me to persevere, telling me that I did well. My one year on the basketball team was short and fleeting, but these memories of kindness will accompany me all my life, and serve as an example of kindness in humanity. For me, this just shows that no matter where you are, no matter how different you feel like you are from the rest of your community, they will always be there to encourage and support you no matter what.

Anna Lin is a girl from Taiwan who can’t live without boba. She wants to travel around the globe with a book in her hands. She enjoys reading fantasies and fantasizes about the world.