Voices from the Crowd: Basketball – More Than Just a Game

Khaylen Mahdi

Contributing Writer

 

 

My whole life, basketball has been more than just a game. It has been the focal point of my life, as all things circulate around my basketball schedule and aspirations. During my sophomore year of high school, I transferred to The MacDuffie School, a top-ranked preparatory school in Massachusetts, to prioritize my basketball dreams. A lot of change came about as a result of this move. As I approached graduation, my focus was to attend a school where I’d be able to play the game at the next level. Everything I did and all the energy I expended was directed towards basketball. A lot of steps that I’ve taken in my life were to put myself in the position to be able to improve as a basketball player and get to the next level, in whatever shape or form that may be.

Basketball has taught me a lot about myself and about life. It’s given me the opportunity to travel to new places, meet amazing people and have experiences I wouldn’t have had the chance to live out had I not been so dedicated to the sport. One of the best decisions I ever made in my life was the decision to attend The College of Wooster; although it was a risk because I was not recruited, the reward was much greater. I walked onto the men’s basketball program my freshman year not knowing what to expect from the coaches nor the dynamic of the team. But from the very first day, the guys welcomed me as a brother. The Wooster Fighting Scot community is one of the most vibrant, encouraging and supportive Division III communities in the entire country. The Rebounder community, alumni, students, faculty and surrounding community consistently shows their support and pride for our winning culture. Being a member of the men’s basketball team has been beyond rewarding.

I was fortunate enough to be elected Captain both my sophomore and my senior year – this gave me the opportunity to create a stronger relationship with the coaching staff, along with being able to lead by example and motivate my teammates to constantly work toward becoming a better version of themselves on and off the court. As I aspired to be the best leader I could be, my teammates taught me and motivated me to be a better version of myself. Being a member of the team means to sacrifice your individual wants for that of the team. “Buying in” was a phrase frequently used my last season among the players and coaches. It meant to fully invest yourself in your individual role to best help the team accomplish its goals. The role you’re given may not exactly be one you’d wish for; however, if you fully invest yourself in the role you’re asked to play, then your sacrifices will eventually reap the benefits.

Being a Fighting Scot means to want to see your brothers alongside you succeed; it means to carry yourself professionally both on and off the court to best represent your team; it means to put the well-being of your brothers ahead of your own. To uplift one another and “play for each other” is what we try to build ourselves on. To move with a foundation that cannot be broken helps to move with purpose and intention. Each year, my connection grew stronger with my teammates and each year with the new recruits, I gained a new brother and was able to share with them all that I learned  from those before me.