By Anna Ngo
5 seconds left. The crowd was silent. 4 seconds…Sweat trickled down my face. 3 seconds…I weaved through my opponents. 2 seconds…I tossed the ball in the air. 1 second…The ball bounced around the rim. EERRP! The buzzer went off, and the crowd went wild as I made the winning shot. “Anna! Anna!” My name echoed throughout the stadium as the audience and my teammates chanted it repeatedly.
Those are the moments I live for. Basketball has been a huge part of my life, and it all started when I was five years old. My mom had dragged me to this Tracy McGrady Basketball Camp at a nearby church. At that time, I had no interest in basketball, let alone know what it was.
I vividly recall my very first steps into the gym. The stench odor of sweat wrinkled my nose as the shrill whistles drummed in my ear. Pounding fast, my heart beat to the dribble of the basketball. I stood there motionless as a sea of eyes glared at me. I felt their critical stares penetrate my skin. I was mentally and physically unprepared for this, so I sat down on the bleachers and refused to participate. However, my mom desperately wanted me to try it out, so I made a deal with her. If I participated in the camp, she had to take me to Build-A-Bear. It was the hottest commodity at that time, and all my schoolmates had a bear from there. (Don’t forget, I was five years old at that time.)
With each day, I started to develop a liking for basketball and that liking turned into a passion. One thing led to another. After the basketball camp, I joined the YMCA basketball league in elementary school. As I got into middle school, I played for the school’s team as I led it to the zone championship. I also played for my high school team, going from the freshman team to varsity. On top of that, I played for the Athletic Amateur Union (AAU) during the summer during the offseason. Thus, I had played basketball for 18 years straight up until I got into college. Thinking I’d need time to try other things, I took a break from basketball during my freshman year, but I soon realized that this was a mistake. I missed being on the court. Therefore, I tried out for the USC Women’s Club Basketball Team and made it in, thus reuniting with the sport that became more than just a passion, but a life lesson.
I can honestly say that the deal I made with my mom was the best thing in my life because not only did I get my Build-a-Bear, I also got a life-long experience that has helped shape me into the person I am today. It has taught me the value of teamwork, communication, commitment, and hard work. I guess you can say, “Ball if Life.”
Anna Ngo is a rising junior majoring in Mechanical Engineering (Petroleum). She is from Houston, Texas but is loving the Los Angeles atmosphere. She has been dancing and playing basketball since she was five years old. However, she loves all sports and enjoys cooking and exploring. The one thing she loves the most is engaging herself in new cultures and experiencing new things.