Personal Statement

c/o 2010

I sit at my computer. I allow my conscience to marinate some of my best qualities and passions into my fingers — I begin typing. I enable my mind to go through this vigorous hard-laboring pain of molding my love for basketball into words. It is a love compiled of harsh metaphors and unimaginable personifications. Basketball is my poetry; my words wrap the ball like Spalding. Anything I am able to write on is my canvas, and any court, concrete, wooden or rubber I am able to play on. Half a piece of paper cannot stop me from expressing myself, and half of a court will not stop me from playing to my maximum potential. An empty pen and a flat ball will not dictate my future.

One night I dreamed so close to reality, I almost did not wake up. The announcer was calling out my teammates. Maya Angelou was the point guard, because she threw the most creative behind-the-back passes that ignorance could never capture– a true definition of The Heart of a Woman. At shooting guard appeared Alice Walker because her explanation of living as a black woman in America is perfect. She continues to put up shots. Hatred’s hand tries to contest the shot, only to fail and become the reason her eye has turned The Color Purple. As I gazed toward our locker room door I had to blink twice, because through those doors shone The Beloved power forward, Toni Morrison. She was ready to box-out all who would try to annihilate our chance to score, and to restore our rights as a culture. Right after her came Gwendolyn Brooks, the center, helping rebound our “Black Love” when the direction of the love and respect is unpredictable. She is the backbone and the strength of our team’s pride. I stand integrity as the small forward the smallest punctuation being the biggest part of the sentence. I call a huddle at half-court, and we all place our hands in the middle. Five minds, five hearts, five different personalities defined as one team. We all cross-over to a new chapter in the same book of life. The scoreboard buzzes, and I go to grab a last drink before the game resumes; only the last time I blinked, I opened my eyes only to find I was staring blissfully at my ceiling.

Every poet/author in my dream has taught me to be culturally and self aware. In basketball they say “practice makes perfect”, and in writing perfect practice makes an incredible writer.  So in every practice I allow my writing utensil to dribble my emotions across each page with sentences like quick passes, and every stanza is another quarter I’ve given my all. Each time I step onto the court all troubles seem to cease. The ball is a symbol of life. I know that the ball gets passed around to people and sometimes even plagiarized and mistreated. I understand the players in my life may come and go, some people may pass a way, but the lessons they have taught me are still invaluable.

 

-The Graduate
-Leighrick

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