Stepping onto the basketball court for the first time during my freshman year of high school seemed like a nightmare to me. Six other girls were already dribbling, shooting and clearly knew what they were doing. I awkwardly picked up a ball and threw it at the hoop with the worst form possible, hoping it would be a somewhat decent shot.
The rest of the two-hour practice went about the same way; I stared and watched for a while, then halfheartedly tried my own sadly performed version of the drill.
After focusing on ballet classes for 11 years of my life, sports were an anomaly to me at the age of 14. I had agreed to play basketball only because the team needed a player on the bench, and my best friend, the coach’s daughter, had begged me to try it.
Two weeks of practices later, I put on my jersey for my first game, still without a clue of how to properly play basketball.
The coach put me on the court during the second half, and I immediately panicked. A teammate passed the ball to me, and I drove toward the basket as everyone shouted my name. I was so proud of myself until I realized the reason everyone was yelling at me: I didn’t know the teams switched baskets at halftime, and I was going the wrong way with everyone watching.
I still have not lived that moment down; every time a player dribbles toward the wrong basket, we call it “pulling a Bethany.” I have, however, fallen in love with the game of basketball and continue to play almost six years later.
Many of us tend to get comfortable in our own little “bubbles”; we settle into a certain routine, with our standard social group, daily activities and even the food we eat. If something is weird or foreign to us, we stay away from it at all costs.
Often times we miss the best opportunities because of our fear of the unknown.
If I hadn’t reluctantly agreed to play basketball that year, I would have missed out on playing what has become my favorite sport. That experience also led to my playing other sports. Stepping out of my comfort zone and into the unknown was the best decision I could have made.
Some of the friends I’ve made here at the University are the result of trying new things and taking a break from my daily schedule. Changing our default dinner plans, trying a new activity or sitting in a new seat for a small class are easy ways that we can push the limits of our personal “bubbles.”
I’m not going to promise that you will never be disappointed by the things you try. Bad experiences will come along with the good ones. I will promise, however, that you’ll never know if you never try.
Step out of your comfort zone and try something new; it may just become something you can’t live without.