Final Blog

ENGL 1003  Shi Su Rodman)2945787  homework 

Everyone has their own hobbies, since childhood my hobby has been sports. Although my father’s busy work schedule kept him occupied throughout most of my childhood, Sunday mornings were sacred, and that small window of time. That small window allowed me and my father to indulge in our common interest: soccer.

Under my father’s tutelage, I became a standout player at six-years-old. Despite being a robust primary school player, my short stature prevented me from becoming a soccer specialty student in junior high school. The day I received my soccer specialty rejection letter, my father sat me down and told me that this is the cruel nature of sports and that I would need to train twice as hard. Extending this attitude to my academics, I was accepted to our district’s key junior high school.

In junior high, I joined the soccer team. Still on the small side, I was only able to play twenty minutes per game. Initially unhappy with my playing time, my father quickly reminded me that the body size gap might be temporary but that a weak mind is long-term. With renewed determination, I began strength training three times per week and stayed forty-five minutes after practice to work on core skills. Finally, by the end of my 8th grade year, I led my school team to a Second Place finish in Haidian District and a Sixth Place award in Beijing.

Entering Beijing No. 12 High School, I had to reestablish myself both on and off the soccer pitch. I became the only member of the Class of 2018 to play basketball, too. Honestly, as someone who only started playing basketball in high school, making the varsity team was not an easy task because I didn’t have outstanding height or wonderful basketball fundamentals. Fortunately, I managed to get selected for the school basketball team because of my previous athletic foundation.

My impressions of the hardwood court could sum up my first year of high school basketball. Standing at a paltry 5’7”, 130 pounds, I was often on the outside looking in at playing time in our intrasquad scrimmages. When I did take the court in practice, it was usually to play the role of a glorified drill cone. Although I took each training exceptionally seriously, my lack of size, power, and talent left me helpless.

Following roughly a month of regulated, on-court abuse, I deliberated giving up on my dream of playing varsity basketball. As I contemplated my next step, my English teacher asked each of us to select an English name. Without hesitating, I chose the name Rodman, the king of rebounding. I had always admired his flair and passion for the game as a Piston and a Bull. When my teacher asked me to dig deeper to explain why I chose the name, I had to look beyond Dennis’s accolades. To my surprise, Rodman had always been undersized. As an eleventh grader, he was just 5’10” tall and weighed barely more than my 130 pounds. Despite being diminutive in stature, what stood out most about Rodman was his mentality and philosophy that rebounding is not about the size of one’s body, but about the size of one’s mind.  

Entering my second year, I had sprouted from 5’7” to 6’0” and gained 20 pounds of lean muscle. While I was still far from being an intimidating physical presence, my growth psychologically and my upgraded understanding of rebounding frustrated my teammates in practice but ultimately won their approval. Towards the end of the season and in a fateful twist of events, our team’s starting power forward, Hao Li, went down with a season-ending injury, clearing a path for playing time. In my first outing at Districts, I hauled in a season-high 16 rebounds, helping my team to victory.

From that day on, I solidified my role on our school team as the king of rebounding. Most importantly, however, I confirmed that the real battle was in my mind and that it was a battle that I can and must win.

I kept on training to have more breakthroughs in basketball skills while maintaining my academic performance. My increased self-discipline just happened to coincide perfectly with a significant growth spurt, and when the dust had settled, I had become a full-time starter and key member of our 2020 Fengtai District basketball championship team.

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