I’d like to start off by apologizing – first on my behalf. I’m a fan that is probably faceless in a sea of fanatics that show up at the Dunk. I have no business writing this, and I’m not sure how it’ll be received. All I can hope for is that you understand the reason I’m writing this isn’t for personal gain, or for the sake of my institution, or anything else. Whatever equalizing denominator you want to use – we’re both from eastern Massachusetts, both rock fantastic hair styles (your fade top and my jew-fro), or that we’re both simply humans co-existing on this planet – just know I’m writing it from that standpoint, and not one of any alternative motive.
Secondly, I’d like to apologize for the experts, the journalists, and the overall opinionated people who claim they know what you’re thinking and what you’re going through. It seems that I can’t go on Twitter, Facebook, or a message board and not see your name tied up in some half-baked idea of what you’re thinking and/or where you’re going. The reality, as I’m sure you’re aware of, is that none of these people know and that they’re guessing either by job description, bias standpoint, or simply overzealous at the opportunity to see you wear their school’s name and colors on your uniform in the fall. I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be to have words put into your mouth by these people on a daily basis, even further exacerbated by the fact that they don’t consult you, or that they spin your consultation to a very specific degree. I can’t claim to have an understanding of that feeling, like every word seems to be pushing you in a direction that you’re not sure you want to head in, but I can imagine that it gets so frustrating at times that you want to throw your fist into a wall.
To put it simply, it’s not fair. It’s not fair to you because you’ve worked your entire life to get to this point and you’ve made the sacrifices you’ve needed to make to get where you’re at presently, and now it must feel like someone is taking that and trying to control it. It’s unfair because you should be enjoying this, not feeling like you’re being pushed into something. Christ, at this point in high school my biggest concern was who my prom date was going to be, these kinds of decisions you have to make are well beyond the most of us and you have to make them in the midst of this point in your life. In laments terms, it’s bullshit that you have to feel this way and put up with this.
I don’t know you, and I’m not about to give you advice because I have no idea where you’re at or what you’re going through. All I can say is I empathize with you. From all accounts you sound like a great young man, one who has his head on right and is always looking ahead in life. From my understanding you’re mature beyond your years and extremely respectful, rare and valuable qualities not only in a person but in life. These are the qualities that people look back on and root for – not for you as a basketball player, but for you as a person. With all these pressures on where to go, when to decide by, who thinks what, it might be easy to lose sight of that.
If there’s one thing I can encourage you to do, it’s to never forget the people that matter most in your life are the ones who will support you for you and the decisions you make. There is no “right answer” in many things – the choices in life are not black and white, but beautiful shades of grey. What decisions you make should be ones that reflect the choices made with your heart and mind, and not ones made for you by others. You know this, and I’m not trying to teach you something you know. What you might not know is that people of your nature, who are unique in character for their esteemed qualities, will always be rooted for. Whether it be because you play basketball or not is a variant of life that can change at the pulse of a heartbeat, but as Confucius said “no matter where you go, there you are.” I hope you remember these words because at the end of the day they will ring true for you – no matter what school you pick you will still be, from all accounts, a great person. These are the people we hope to see succeed in life, regardless of where they do it.
I vouch for no person other than myself and those who may find agreement in this letter, regardless of philosophical beliefs, religious denomination, or even school affiliation. As a person, I want nothing more than to see you succeed in whatever you do. Life is nothing more than a collection of moments, but it is the family and community we embrace as our own that what makes life worthwhile. I hope you find this in whatever path you decide going forward, but also I hope you understand there are those already around you that provide this for you. I know you may not read this, but maybe in some metaphysical way these words reach you in some form and they bring solace to your life when you may need it. Most importantly, have fun – life is too short not to.
- Warrior Friar