You. Yes you. I know how it goes, life gets busy, really busy, and you find yourself with a few tranquil moments to yourself amongst the chaos that is reality. You saw this title pop up in your IG story, your Facebook feed or even that little news reel on WordPress; you pondered for a good five seconds, ‘do I have the time?’. I guess if you made it this far, you did or maybe you didn’t, but creating that space became important and I appreciate that. What’s the point in this intro you may ask, well, I didn’t go all out Freud for the giggles. Honestly, I nearly didn’t have time.
My posts have been lacking in past weeks. The world came knocking and the superpower coping strength I thought I possessed turned out to be a front for my average human workload tolerance, basically, I wasn’t ready and hours in the day were not forgiving. But, after some much-needed reflection time, I’m back on top form, ready to take on this goddamn world and realising that you make time, it doesn’t make you. Wow do the Barons deserve that time, and a whole lot more, so this post is pushing all other articles to the side; technicals can wait, part 3 of our tour can take a back seat (lord knows that’s been going on forever!), right now, the BARONS are PRIORITY.
Friday brought about our team dinner, a bittersweet evening where we celebrated our achievements from the Player’s Player (Perez, we knew it’d be you) to the most fouls (yeahhh, Chim, we knew you had that one too), and also came to terms with the season’s end. Never again will we play as this line-up, some move on to bigger and better things, others will form the next group of Barons, and the rest, well the rest are moving back to France with their golden bunny before Brexit throws them out!
Looking back to September is difficult, not because of the distance, but because of the drastic changes everyone on this team has experienced; we can now shoot free throws with ease, put our hands up to block and even smile when we foul (sometimes).
Taking a position behind the lens as oppose to on the court has afforded me the greatest gift in the world. I have learnt to observe individual behaviour and anticipate movement without the rules being a necessity. I have learnt how to be that extra element of support without needing words. I have learnt the power of emotional highs and the humbleness of emotional lows. But most importantly, I have learnt.
I never experienced nerves quite like boarding that mini-bus back at the first game. Trying to establish my own little corner, be it by baking post-game snacks, adopting the slang or telling them how great they look in pictures, I’d have done anything because those guys had potential. Now on the inside looking out, I refer to my mother as ‘fam’, my dad as ‘bro’, answer calls with ‘yo’, and keep saying ‘you’re hip’ when hearing my friend’s stories from back home.
Since you all know the guys by now, through various posts and player profiles, maybe I ought to delve a little deeper. This may be overkill, but I don’t see the point in writing an in-depth thank you that ends up being vague and ordinary. So, Adam, you taught me that quiet is deadly, composure is vital, and you offered me some chocolate way back in November which meant more to me at that time than anything; Nas (#35), you taught me about chivalry and kindness, you made a point of talking to me after that first game, asking my interests and goals, you didn’t have to; Malik, you taught me how to smile at EVERYTHING; Chris, you taught me some strange vocab, how to do those complex secret handshakes and always made time, I’ve never had a big brother, thank you; Darnell, you taught me how to dance (sort of), not to take the world so seriously and that even the strongest people have the darkest days; Justin, you taught me everything ahah, you brought me along on your crazy adventures, you were blunt when you had to be, and you said my hips were non-existent when Darnell taught me to dance; Nas (#6), you taught me that an old soul has a better perspective, strength comes from within, and it’s really important to know your photogenic angles; Paolo, you taught me how to persevere, even if things get tough and that a truly kind heart is the most valuable quality; Perez, you taught me that Kendrick Lamar isn’t as bad as I thought, how definitely not to dance, and that friendly giants do exist; Chim, you taught me to embrace what you do, to play a game with so much passion that you take to the bench if necessary, and that selfies are pretty great, thank you for the support, always; Ed, you taught me that flirting with the KFC cashier is cost-effective, that speaking like a cast member of the Fresh Prince is perfectly normal, and, most importantly, that screaming for your team until the bench gets a technical is the most admirable trait one can have.
The outcome of the final may not have been the desired one, but it was by no means a disappointment. Not one member of that team let themselves down. Credit to the opposition who played a good and fair game. If we’re to take anything away it ought to be that we took on a Division I team, we were the first Barons to make it to a final, and we never gave up. The unit they built over the past season meant they felt actual pain over that loss, but it also meant they did not turn on each other. It would have been out of this world to walk away with the cup, yet the outcome made us realise how much it meant to us a whole lot more.
This journey has been crazy, intense, happy, sad, healing, hurtful and the best time of my life. This journey has given me thirteen more family members, what else is there to say?

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