Tag Archives: life

Ball If Life

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. 

Easing the Restlessness

By Matt Keibler

“Do you want to go to the Grand Canyon to see the sunrise?”

Now, I am one for adventure. Hiking Mt. Baldy, snorkeling on the Atlantic shelf, walking alone through a Moroccan market, traversing the hills of Scotland through sleet storms – I have no trouble with getting outside. The real issue is getting friends to go with me. Happiness is only real when shared, no?

So, when I asked my dear friend Rachel to spend her one day off on one of the last weeks of Summer 2015 to drive seven hours across the Arizona desert in the middle of the night for a few dawn hours on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, I was nervous that she would say no. After all, this was the last thing on my summer bucket list before senior year. Who knows where we would both be next year? I warned her. It would be an exhausting task. We would need coffee and Clif bars and maybe some 90s throwbacks to get us through the night. And I knew that she was the only one crazy enough to say yes to this.

And she did.

“Great. Go take a nap. We leave at 9:30pm. Sun rises at 6:37am.”

She did not realize the immediacy of my question and yet, she took it in stride. Within a few hours, we were packed, caffeinated, and midway to Barstow, where we would leave the traditional route to Las Vegas, instead opting for the 40 freeway and another 4 hours of desert. Musically, we had moved through The Great Boy Bands of the 90s, and into 90s alternative rock. Blink-182 was a better vibe for a midnight drive through the California desert anyways.

Now, I am a boy from Florida, and I thought I knew heat. Summer nights are a balmy 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a light breeze, if you’re lucky. My best memories are sitting on the beach after midnight in the late summer, watching the lightning from a far off storm illuminate the ocean. The flash of blue mirrors itself on the water, and for a split second, you can see the beach around you. Sometimes you could see a boat far, far in the distance. Most of the time, you saw the horizon of blueish black meet the stars. But only for a second. In that consuming darkness, you are left with nothing to do but sit down and bask in its awe.

Continue reading Easing the Restlessness

The Challenges of Earning a Theatre Degree

By Kevin Paley

According to USA Today, the average college student spends 17 hours per week on homework (studying included); that’s roughly two-and-a-half hours per day. Given that the average student takes between 15 and 20 units per semester, that’s about half an hour on each class. What would you say if I asked you to rank the majors or schools at USC in order of busiest to most free, in terms of scheduling? You’d probably think Architecture, Pre-Med, and/or Engineering would be the most time-consuming for the average student, right? Where would Theatre majors land on your list? Some might put it on the bottom of this hypothetical list but allow me to enlighten you on why it would actually be a contender for the top.

Acting, directing, designing, and managing in the theatrical realm are careers where experience is the foundation of the learning process. Homework for theatre classes involves outside of class rehearsal time (similar to group projects), in addition to regular reading and writing assignments. This classroom experience is vital, but the majority of theatre students seek to enhance their education by participating in plays and musicals at USC: both those produced by the School of Dramatic Arts and Independent Student Productions. Rehearsals for these shows are 6-10pm Monday through Friday and 10am-2pm on Saturday (on average). That’s twenty-four hours of rehearsal on top of pre-existing class and homework. One whole day each week dedicated to gaining experience in one of the least prosperous career paths. Why?

For some, the need to sacrifice a social life for the sake of volunteer-work in the theatre comes from the insecurity of landing a job after graduation: it’s the notion that hard work will eventually pay off. For some, it’s a simple and addictive love: acting, directing, or some other artistic platform in the theatre is merely what provides fulfillment in the college student’s turbulent life. No matter what the reason, once one joins the ensemble of a production, the next few months of his or her life are dedicated to making that work of art happen.

Continue reading The Challenges of Earning a Theatre Degree