It’s a vain question, but one that has hounded me this past week as I sat courtside watching every young hopeful prove them self as a worthy Baron. Worthy? It ought to be emphasised that we Barons do not hold any halo above our heads, we have air up there the same as everyone else – unless you are an actual angel. But this view lends nicely to this post’s topic.
Outside interest from prospective students was humbling yet ego-inflating to our self-image. We are no different nor are we any more talented than those freshers being fed through the ranks. However, the first week of training appeared to highlight a hierarchy and brought to light the real ‘power struggle’ taking place amongst our own. Those who have travelled hundreds of miles – from Greece, the US and Nigeria – turned up with rose-tinted goggles, goggles that shouldn’t have been deemed tinted in the first place. In-team arguments, hostility and disruption pushed us down in their estimations, we presented more as a joke than a unit. Not to hate on the family too much, they did provide a challenging session for the newbies and represented us the only way they know how… by getting them absolutely trashed in the student bar afterwards. I am proud, because we did push through the rocky start and left with smiles, new ties and excitement for the new blood.
My part was also far from textbook as they were welcomed by a squeaky voiced ditzy President with limited basketball knowledge and who didn’t have the balls to handle the first training session – literally, I forgot to bring the basketballs and had to frantically ring the guys to bring as many as they could! Balls just seem to be the enemy lately as when I did bring them, they were too pumped up to basket and the player assigned to take them home text me to say he couldn’t find them after practice. The trials of being President 😉
Anyway, back to topic! As I was toying with the idea, the question of getting noticed hit me in the face so hard that it had to be addressed. Sitting at the back of class being the ‘introverted observer’ has always served me well, I can take in the work and analyse the shazam out of my peers without being noticed. But when your lecturer points out, as an ‘example’, that those who sit at the back and don’t speak will eventually fade out of existence, you kind of know you’ve been busted.
To me, you can be hugely successful as an introvert, especially in writing and photography as your work not your brash should take the limelight? Humouring my lecturer’s wise words, I thought about what it means to be noticed when, as if by magic, a photographer waltzed into the room and singled me out. Apparently, they wanted a few pictures for a publicising piece… OH SHIT. As the entire class turned in their seats, I could feel the intense red pigment build in my complexion – try being subtle now. The fact that my fly was undone helped rebalance the universe and set me back on my dorky path to stardom. Although this little anecdote has nothing to do with basketball, it demonstrates the crazy incidents that suddenly put you in the ‘notice’ category.
Step One: What we look for.
Surprisingly, our coaches completely neglect skill in the initial trials, focussing on personality and temperament. If your ego is as high as the Himalayas, your demeanour is deplorable, and your outlook is ominous it is not going to work. We want passion, positivity and, most importantly, a family member. I don’t need to delve too deep into this as you will gather from previous posts, we act as a unit, if a cog is turning the wrong way the process just breaks down.
Step Two: Can you even dunk bro?
When anyone dunks, silence falls. If you’re the opposition, we scowl at how much of a show off you are. If you’re a Baron, we tip our hats and try to one-up you. If you’re a fresher, we sign you IMMEDIATELY.
Step Three: Don’t forget that skill.
As previously mentioned, personality is getting your foot through the door, but don’t neglect your skill. Hard work and dedication will help perfect your craft – in any industry. We have hopefuls with law degrees still hellbent on making it to the Euro League because this is their dream. They may be highly qualified to take on any six-figure career they want, but their commitment and training lies with basketball. This passion cannot be faked, you must want it, all of it.
There you have it, a rant about balls, my short journey to fame, and the three-step process to being noticed (which should not be taken as bible, because I’m still sat here, alone). My greatest thanks go out to the Barons who have, despite my initial rant, welcomed the newbies with open arms and have helped all they can to ensure perfect integration, not just in the team but at university. As we make cuts to find our 2018/19 league team, personal development and cohesion will be the heart of our sessions.
Always a pleasure,