Maryn Budiman is a BC United / BlueStar Alum who recently just signed with NCAA D1 Cal Baptist. Stay tuned with future updates as she blogs for us.
Everyone will tell you to follow your dreams. As a young child to a senior in high school I was told by every single coach or influencer in my basketball career to “Trust the Process.” This is an overused statement that I frankly dislike strongly. If one is to trust the process they will always be left waiting for something to happen. If you want anything in life you need to go get it, and if you work hard enough, attack all angles and knock at every door that objective will be obtained.
The summer of grade ten is the year that serious scholarship athletes start to get interest from Universities. I, however, did not get interest from a single school that year except one Canadian University. This bothered me and I kept blaming the non-interest on other people or situations. I wondered why they were not recruiting me. The real question was, why was I not looking inward at myself and seeing what the real issues were. Playing this blame game became negative and at times I questioned why I was even playing basketball. After discussions with knowledgeable people and more personal reflection I knew after that summer I would have to do everything I could, including changing my mind set, to make my dreams of playing basketball at the division one level come true.
In my grade 11 year I worked with a passion on skill development which included all my on court moves, shots, passes and dribbling. It came to the end of the school year and our team was competing at the BC Provincial Tournament. All the work I did during the year was for this very tournament. I could not wait, I was excited to demonstrate my skills. As the games went on I played very well and was showing off all the skills I had developed and competing with as much effort as possible, but I did not get named player of the game for any of the games we played (even when I had 37 points in one game). Looking back on this it was such a small thing, but at the time all my efforts were not being acknowledged and that affected me more than I can express. I really needed the acknowledgement of my skills from others. Not winning a stupid POG (player of the game) t-shirt would leave me so frustrated. We ended up losing our last game and finishing fourth in the Province. During this game I had played positions that were not where I wanted to be and I never came off the court for a rest because they needed me. In the end I felt used and not respected for my talents and I left right after the game crying (you can tell because I am in none of the team pictures for that year). This low was the biggest turning point in my basketball career and made me the athlete I am today.
Is this the player I really wanted to be? Was I playing only for the recognition? What was the point of playing? And Why am I playing?
These are the questions that I had to figure out if I really wanted to be better, and these were also the questions that made me realize that it was not as much my skill that was the problem, it was my mental game.
When I realized that my mental game was just as important as my physical I worked all summer long, harder than ever on not only my skills but my thought processes in practice and in games. I changed my approach and had a coach that knew my goals and would remind me and help me reset when I needed to. By the end of the summer I was the leader of the team and could better deal with any adversity it did not matter what team we played I knew I would take it to them. In addition, I could help my teammates to get on the same page. The last game in our California tournament I was fouled while shooting a three point shot and had to hit all 3 free-throws in order to tie the game and put it into overtime. If I had to shoot those shots just 2 months earlier there would be no doubt I would have miss at least one. But since I worked on the most overlooked skill in basketball, my mental game, I was able to hit all 3 free-throws. This was also the game in which I was seen by California Baptist University, where I ultimately ended up.
When I arrived at CBU, I found myself drifting back into a negative frame of mind. I wasn’t supporting my team mates and I was not being a leader. Our first game, I was last off the bench and believed in my head I was the worst player on the team. I did not talk about it to anyone. After that game a switch in my head went on and I knew I could play at this level. I had proved it on many teams and having lead my team back to provincials, winning the entire provincial tournament my grade twelve year, I knew what it would take to help a team succeed. I went in the gym to get shots up, making 200 3-pointers a day. I tried to support and cheer the most out of everyone on the team, and hustled like no other. After just a week, I found myself on the starting line up at practice. The next game I was starting. I went from last off the bench to starting the game, just by believing in myself and holding a strong mental state.
I am so thankful that I never got player of the game in grade 11, and I am even more thankful that I had a coach like Coach Aman, who helped me through the summer to become the strong headed individual I am today. Now I have to face different adversity. During the second game of the season I tore my ACL. While this was a huge setback, I will continue to work on my mentally toughness to fight through this injury and come back stronger than ever.
In conclusion, that best advice I could give anyone wanting to play after high school is that to obtain goals, you have to look into yourself instead of blaming things on other people. If you do this, no one will ever be able to stop you from achieving want you want.