BY MACEY ZEH-ARNDT
J.Hop Times Staff Writer
At first, it just looked like another bill my dad had to pay.
My parents sat me down one night right after I came home from my friend’s house. At first I thought I was in trouble. Then I thought a family member was hurt or sick. My stomach twisted up and my heart started to pound. “Was I in trouble?” I thought to myself.
My mother told me that nothing was going to change and if anything, I was going to need to work harder. They told me they were proud but also nervous.
Slowly I started to realize that I did something good (for a change).
After about 10 minutes of me begging them to tell me, they finally spit it out.
They told me something that will not only support my education, but also something that made me look at my abilities in a whole new way.
Michigan State University (the school I have been wanting to go to since I was a baby) wants to offer me a full-ride basketball scholarship.
I cried, and then I laughed… then I cried some more, and laughed hysterically. (Somewhere on my dad’s phone there is a video of all this happening)
All the nights spent working out. All the missed opportunities to hang with friends because I’m in the gym. It’s all paying off.
The offer for me was a message telling me I’m on the right track and if I keep working hard one day I can live my dream. Going to college on a basketball scholarship and hopefully going to the Women’s Final Four.
For the first time in a while I was confident in myself.
Then I started to think about all that could happen.
I’m 14. What if I decide to stop playing?
What if I get hurt and can’t play?
What if Michigan State decides they are going to drop my scholarship (which they can do until my junior year in high-school)?
I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach. I had bats in it.
Midnight Madness is the start of a basketball team’s season where they introduce the players and coaches and celebrate the start of all the new opportunities the team has in their upcoming season. I’ve only been to the small Midnight Madness at Eckerd College (It actually happens at 9).
The opportunity for my first unofficial visit was finally here (I can’t have an official until I’m a junior in high-school). The MSU head coach, who my parents have talked to over the phone about going there for my unofficial visit, can’t pay for my flight because of recruiting regulations, so my aunt Lauren who lives in Michigan paid for my flight.
I flew to Michigan, and stayed at my aunt’s house.
The first day there was my day off. I ate lunch, walked around campus, then went to sleep. My second day was a lot busier than my first day. I woke up early went to a walk-through practice for the huge celebration happening later in the day. After that I went and ate lunch, went back to the gym, ate again this time with the team. During the dinner with the team the recruits and players had to do a little lip-sync battle.
The problem with being extremely tall is when you try to dance it looks a lot like a baby giraffe learning to walk for the first time.
In my group we had three players and two recruits. Of course out song was Hotline Bling. As a team we went back into a room and practiced what we were going to do. After messing up and laughing at each other we went back to the banquet. Finally it was our time to get on stage. We got up there and the music started. The rest I don’t remember because I was so nervous.
We lost the lip-sync contest. A team of parents won (of course).
After the battle we headed down to the arena. The recruits and their families all sat together, close to the court.
My aunt warned me that when the doors open for the public to come in people were going to start running. The doors finally opened. Hundreds of people filled the arena. There was running, and yelling. It was a scramble to get close to the court. Once the scramble slowed down and the seats were filled the lights went out. The music got loud. The band was blaring music. At the end of one many songs a few of the drummers put their sets down and laid on their backs.
They were picked up by the feet and the drums were set upside down on them. They played the drums upside down!
After their performance it was time to introduce the players and coaches on the women’s team. Music blared and out came the players one by one, dancing to the music they picked to come out to. When it was time for the coaches, the gym got quite.
Then on the jumbotron came a video. This year the coaches did a parody to the show Charlie’s Angels. Behind a curtain you could see the outline of the coaches’ bodies. The music played and they walked out in all black.
The men’s team did similar things, but the head coach was Tom Cruise from the movie Mission Impossible.
Both teams scrimmaged, and then the event was over.
It was better than I could ever imagine.