The lights. The buzzer. The annoying whistles that the referee blows when there’s a violation. The swish the hoop makes when the ball goes inside of it. The crowd screaming “defense” multiple times. Imagine if that’s your dream, and all people do is patronize you about it because “You’re a girl “and “WNBA players don’t make a lot of money.” Also, imagine if this happens to you almost every day and the people that tell you all those things are the ones that you love the most. Well, now you’re in my shoes.

It all started when I was eight years old. I had just started to play basketball and I had just started to love it. I loved the game, the hoop, and especially the screeching sound the ground makes when they go against the floor. My dad loved that I was playing basketball, but he didn’t like the fact that I wanted to be in the WNBA. He would constantly ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and when I answered, he would constantly tell me that I wouldn’t make enough money. I would constantly tell him that I wasn’t in it for the money.

My mom loved that I was happy playing basketball, but she didn’t really like that I played that particular sport. I would sometimes overhear her on the phone saying that she doesn’t really want me playing the sport. It would hurt a lot to hear that.

My coach Shanese, on the other hand, now that’s a lady who cares. She is super kind, competitive, and tall; has long dreads that she always wears in a ponytail; has dark skin, and she will never give up on helping me with my dream. She helped me grow into the skilled, competitive girl that I am today. She will listen to my each and every problem and she will try to help with the problem that I am having. She will help with any skill that I need work on, will criticize me if I did poorly, and help me with that skill. I love her and she loves me, too.

For the past five years, I didn’t tell anyone about my dilemma except for my coach. Now I have told my three best friends and they still love me and help me through this journey daily. Some days I cry at night thinking about what my parents would do if I became a WNBA player. Would they be mad? Would they yell at me when they found out? It’s sad to think that parents don’t support your dreams. Some days I even think, did Candace Parker have to go through this as a child and when she got drafted? Is this even normal? Candace Parker is my idol. When I watch her on T.V, it’s like nothing is the same. It’s like everything is all “normal”.

If I make it into the WNBA…WHEN I make it to the WNBA…let’s see what my parents say then!