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Basketball has been my whole entire life. Ever since I can remember I was learning how to play basketball or I was watching it. I have been told my whole life that if you’re short, you’re not good at basketball. I’m short or kind of in the middle of being average, and I’ve been told short people are slow; however, I’m one of the fastest and shortest on my team. I was also told basketball is a boy’s sport, and girls aren’t as good as them and never will be.

“You’ll never be able to play basketball, it’s a boy sport! We don’t want you on our teams, it’s boys only,” all the boys have said to me.

I’ve always answered, “Okay, but that’s not fair at all to any girls.”

I notice that when I play lightning, thunder, or knockout, the boys that play chant for me to get out because I’m usually the last girl in. When I finally do get out they clap, but when the boys get out no one claps or even makes them feel bad that they got out, but they think it’s fine to do it to girls. It’s really not tough and when I win no one cares, but if a boy wins he gets so much attention. The boys also think they’re so much better than us and when we do win it doesn’t count. They think we’re lying when we try our hardest to win just to be told we are lying or not good. Boys think they’re so much better when us girls are trying our hardest to show them we are better or as good.

I was told this so many times I eventually started to believe it, so for some time I didn’t think I would ever be good at basketball, have people want to play with me, or even play anymore. My basketball team helped me figure out that none of this is true and helped me get through it.

Today, basketball is my life and my teammates and coaches are like my second family because of how close we are to each other now. I have learned lots of lessons that help me in my everyday life. Basketball has helped me through lots of times when people couldn’t and taught me things I couldn’t have learned without playing it. These people will stick with me forever. My basketball team also taught me that we can beat boys even though they say they’re better and say rude things. Basketball changed my life so quickly that I don’t know how I could ever live without it. I want to play professional basketball in the WNBA, and if I do, all the people who played basketball with me and helped me will be the reason I get there. Many of the people on this team have become my best friends. I talk to them every day and always will and I’ve gotten so many more. They all helped me figure out that basketball is a girl sport and we can do just as good as anyone. No matter what people say about you, they can’t define who you are.

© Chloe Kindt. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.