by Tyler Coley
It’s 6:10 am and I’m awake, staring at my wall. I’d normally be excited to go away, especially to get a day off from school, but this is a business trip. Being on the LWA Varsity Basketball Team comes with its perks, but at the end of the day, hundreds and even thousands of hours are put in to make this team successful. My team and I worked extremely hard for this, putting in the utmost effort at practice- Monday through Saturday since November- and we’re finally here. I arrive at school in the morning, accompanied by my teammates for a quick breakfast, before taking the 5 hour journey to Glens Falls. The bus ride is quiet for a while, and then there are times when we all joke around and laugh together. However, everyone knows in their mind what has to be done. This is a business trip, not a vacation.
Before even arriving at the hotel, we stop at Glens Falls High School for a quick practice. Everyone is getting stretched out, and the gym is filled with determined high school athletes, waiting to play on the big stage. We’re all talking and yelling and focused. We start off with jogging, and then get some layups, dunks and shots up before going over all of our plays and sets. After we put up shots, the remainder of the practice is mainly going over plays and putting ourselves in game situations. Execution is one of the most important things in life. Whatever we plan and strategize will only matter if we go out and execute.
After an energetic practice, we then arrive at the hotel and go to our rooms to shower and relax a little before leaving for dinner. The restaurant is a great experience; we all sit together, eating as a team and enjoying ourselves, which is a unique bonding experience. After dinner, we walk to the stadium where we will be playing on Saturday, but for now we just watch other teams play. There we witnessed LuHi play South Shore, which starts out as an intense matchup, but soon leads to a LuHi victory. Back at the hotel, Coach Weiss has a brief talk with us. We have to take things seriously and play hard. He reminds us that we didn’t come up here for a field trip or vacation. This is a clear business trip, and falling short in the first game last year left us even hungrier for a win. After this talk, the energy amongst my teammates and I shifts from general happiness to strict determination. We need a win and anticipation for the game tomorrow is getting higher and higher. Now it’s around 11 and I’m in my hotel room with my teammates Jasigha and John. We’re all watching college basketball and studying the game in preparation for tomorrow. 11:30- it’s lights out and time to get some rest.
The next morning we wake up at around 8, get ready, and go downstairs for breakfast. After several salutations and welcomings, we eat and get our jerseys, shorts and shirts. Time to get ready.
Game day. The bus ride isn’t full of laughter and joking like it usually is. Nobody’s laughing and nobody’s talking. You would think the bus is full of strangers, the way everyone’s quiet. The only noise you can hear is the vibrations from all of our headphones as we listen to music to get ready for arguably the biggest game of our season. As we arrive, we watch the first half of another game, then go directly to a smaller room so our coaches can talk to us. There are are no more plays to go over, no more X’s and O’s to this. We have to come out and play hard, do our job, and execute. No play will work unless we give it our all. After a pep talk from our coaches, all of us are excited and ready to go- sneakers laced up, players jumping up and down with excitement. We need this win.
We run out to the court after the previous game ends and we get right into our warmups. The first warm up includes grabbing a partner and a ball and doing some ball handling for a couple of minutes. My partner is Aidan Igiehon. Both he and I are very serious the whole time. No laughter, no questions, and no talking except for encouraging each other as we warm up.
Next thing you know, it’s game time. We fight a hard battle and are up at the end of the first half. Due to a couple of mistakes on our part, and questionable calls from the refs, sadly we can’t get the job done. My teammate Maurice Butler hits a great shot to put us within one point, but unfortunately, we don’t have enough time to take our lead back. It was a well fought season from all of us. Walking back to that room is hard. Nobody says a word; there are bad expressions on everybody’s faces and a suffocating silence. We were so close and fell short by only 1 point. Although the season didn’t end how we wanted it, this season has taught me a lot about my development as a basketball player and a person in general. Basketball can take a person to many places and I’m thankful that it took me upstate with my teammates. Hopefully, there will be a different ending next season.