Brittany Graham

basketball

Thanksgiving in The Bahamas, YES!!!

basketball, life, travel, brittanyBrittany GrahamComment

This year for Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to spend the week in The Bahamas with our team! I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful and amazing everything was, it was seriously one of the best experiences of my life. The native people of the island were so warm and welcoming as each of them had a contagious positive and joyful spirit that followed them. It was also my first time leaving the country so it was my first time to experience having a passport and going through customs at the airport, quite the process. The island itself was absolutely, the sand was soft, the water was blue, and skies were clear. I honestly don’t think there was much to complain about being on the beach in 70-80 degree weather in late November.

Because people in the Bahamas don’t acknowledge Thanksgiving as a holiday, every time we made our way to the gym for games and practices, the local students were still in school. Each time we got off the bus, the greeted us with big smiles and waving at us through the windows of the school and few that even followed us to the gym, peeking in to watch us play. Everyone there was super nice, and very laid back, the laid-back environment definitely made us feel like we were at home.

Despite the chill atmosphere, the sunshine, and beach time…you can’t forget the real reason why we were there, basketball. Overall, even with two tough losses to Notre Dame and Louisiana Tech, we left the island a stronger and tougher unit than when we came. We grew together, overcame adversity together, and got better, which is all we can ask for.

Basketball has allowed me to travel and see so many places that ordinarily I probably would never to get to see and that’s something that I will never take for granted. Every day I wake up so blessed to do what I love, and with people I love and care so much about. So excited to see what the next adventure brings…

Check out the videos below of all my adventures in the Bahamas:

To my 18-year-old self

basketball, faith, life, brittanyBrittany Graham2 Comments

It’s been exactly 10 years, yes 10 years since I have graduated from high school. Crazy right? So here's a little letter to my 18-year-old self with everything I know now as a 28-year-old-self.

To my 18-year-old self:

You're so young, you're so naive. You think you have it all figured out, but little do you know you have so much learn. In fact, I feel sorry for you. You're so hopeful for better years that you think lie ahead. But, what you don't know is that the next 10 years of your life will be harder and tougher than you could ever imagine. So knowing what I know now, let me educate you on this game called life.

You don't know or see it now but you are beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and you don’t need the approval of a boy to feel so. You don't need to change yourself and compromise who you are and what you believe to get attention from guys like the majority of other freshmen girls in college. Instead, focus on what matters; school and basketball because boys will come and go but you only have 4 years to live your dream of playing college basketball. Besides, later in life I promise you will see your worth and realize just how beautiful you are.

With that being said, even though you think because you're only a freshman your basketball career is just beginning, actually it's almost over. So, don't let any opportunity to get better pass you by. I supposed I should also warn you of the pain from the only stable thing you've ever had in your life is about to bring you. You've never been told you're not good enough, but get ready because that’s something you're about to hear more often than not. They're not going to believe in you but trust me when I say that as long as you believe in yourself and work your butt off you will make it. I know you're going to try to quit every other week, but just remember why you love this game, and more importantly why you started.

I wish you knew, what I know about you now. How awesome you are. What a good friend you are. How funny you are, and how loyal you are to those who are close to you. But, you don't. You poor thing you just want friends so bad. You just want to fit in, be liked, and you're willing to do just about anything to be liked by people who could care less about you. Learn to accept the fact that not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay. Know who your real friends are and be okay with the fact that you may not see them for years but that doesn't change the fact they will always ride for you, more than the fake friends you spend your time with every day. Stick up for yourself and stop letting people use you. Can I have ride? Oh I'll pay you back, hey I need a favor, help me with my homework, be our DD tonight? You’re going to hear it all and never stop giving to those in need, just don't expect anything in return. Because I'm telling you, those people who you think are your friends won't make it past the next chapter.

2015 vs. 2005 wow, time went by fast!
2015 vs. 2005 wow, time went by fast!

You have no reason to feel the way you do. Confused and lost about who you are. You know exactly who you are but I'm sorry to say over the next 10 years of your life you will question yourself about who are entirely too much. You're going to go through the tough act stage of thinking you know it all and can do it on your own. But, trust me when I say, you don't, and you can’t. I hate to say it but mom and dad will almost always be right, about everything. So, as much as you think you're grown, they will always be wiser. Listen to their lectures and know that at the end of the day they will probably be the only people in your life that will ever fully have your best interest.

I need you to be ready for life after playing basketball because the first few years to follow will be toughest years of your young life. I wish I could give you the strength you have now then, because then is when you will really need it most. I don't understand some of the decisions you are about to make, but I know the void, pain, and misunderstandings of yourself. I'm disappointed in you for being so weak-minded, but I'm proud of you overcoming so many difficult circumstances and fully learning to rely on God, and for the first time ever.

Once and for all, stop letting people use you and learn to say no. You're a smart girl, very smart so learn to use your head and follow your first instinct. Be careful who you open up to because most people are just curious, bored, or lonely. And let's face it, as tough as you try to act you're nice ways and constantly giving so much to others makes you an easy target.

Stop comparing yourself to others, because everyone has a different journey, and we have have a different struggle, and a different story to tell. Focus on yours and yours only and know that your time is coming. So don't get caught up in feeling sorry for yourself, because trust me again when I say that nobody is feeling sorry for you!

I wish you would live Britt, you're only young once enjoy it. Break the rules, get in trouble, and take more risks. Don't always play it safe. Say YES more, and go explore. Do what you love and don't be so afraid of what those useless people think of you, and be okay with being different. BE confident Britt, because you don't realize it now, but girl you've got IT going on and I wish you could see it. Stop hiding behind your computer screen and go do great things. Let the world and everyone in it know just how great you are! You're smart, you're athletic, pretty, quirky, silly...everything. And no you're not perfect and far from it. But, the quicker you learn to accept your flaws and let your greatness shine, the happier you will be.

So with that being said, to my young 18-year-old self, ten years later as a wiser, stronger 28-year-old. I must say that despite our weak moments, the confusion of life and finding yourself in your post-grad 20’s, I am proud of you. So proud of you, for overcoming so many obstacles and adversity that most people never knew existed all because you stayed the course and

remained strong. I just want to say thank you, for the trials and tribulations and for preparing me for the next ten years and next stage of my life as I continue to move forward in this thing called adulthood. Because believe it or not kid, you have fully prepared me for what’s next, and I couldn’t have made it this far without you.

So here’s to the next ten and the future you. We, the younger you, and current you wish you the best. You deserve everything that is coming your way, these next ten years. We wish for you all of things you ever dreamed of as a little ambitious girl. Memories, love, a family, adventure, success, helping others, and continuing to do amazing things with your life. We wish you all of this and more, and we can only hope that these past ten years have prepared you for the next ten.

Be confident in all that you do, continue to keep God first, never be scared and go after the life you want. You’re strong, you’re beautiful, and you’re one pretty amazing kind-hearted person.

We love you, make us proud.

The Excitement is Real!

basketball, motivation, brittanyBrittany GrahamComment

The past two games of the season are the kind of games as a player and coach you dream about being a part of. We're officially mid-way through the season with an overall record of 12-3 and 4-0 tied for first place in our conference, the excitement is real!

Last Sunday we played Rhodes, the back-to-back defending champs ranked 21st in the nation and the front-runner to win the league for a third consecutive year. Going into the game I definitely thought we would win, without a doubt. Then the second half starts and we go on a 18-2 run and in the blink of an eye we're up 27 points on team to beat! It was so much fun watching our girls experience that kind of success against such a great team. Afterwards, the feeling, the emotion was so indescribable all you could do was smile.

Game Day Swag!!!
Game Day Swag!!!

Less than a week later, and a very long week it was not having two games this week. Saturday we played our in state and conference rival Ogelthorpe, their record 5-10, 0-4 is no indication of exactly what this team is capable of, and how good they really are. It's one of those teams for us that poses bad matchups at times. I think more than anything I was nervous to see how we would come out after such a huge win last week against Rhodes. Often times when that happens, the next game a team will come out flat still riding the high of the last game and not focused on the task at hand.

It was a very close game all the way through. OU took a 9 point lead with 3 minutes left in the game and after a timeout something magical just happened. Magical, that's probably the best way to put into words what happened. We ended the game on an amazing 13-2 run to win 75-73, no overtime needed. The fight, determination, and perseverance the girls showed, as coach just makes you so proud! And once again, all you could do after an up and down close game like that was...S M I L E (:

If the rush, adrenaline, and excitement of the last two games is any indication of what's to come the remaining ten conference games on our quest for a title, I'd say it's going to be one hell of ride.

 

Lauren Hill

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Lauren Hill's courage, and bravery has stolen our hearts and inspired us all. A few weeks ago when I saw her story go viral over social media, I couldn't help but cry. About a year ago during her senior year of high school she was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer without a cure and given less than two years to live. On her 18th Birthday she committed to play basketball at Mt. Saint Joseph's with hope that she would be able to live long enough to live out her dream of playing college basketball. When school started in the fall of this year, the tumor in her brain had increased as doctors projected she wouldn't live to see the new year. The NCAA granted the schools request to move the season opener up to November 2nd so Lauren could play in her first and what will likely also be her last game college game. The school moved the game to nearby Xavier University and in 45 minutes the arena sold out, 10,000 tickets. Since hearing this story, Lauren Hill has been on my mind a lot. Watching the many videos and news story of her losing her motor skills, energy, not being able to dribble or run down the court and do what she loves with her teammates really started to hit home. It really just puts so much in perspective, at times I felt selfish obsessing over my so-called problems when Lauren Hill has been fighting for her life showing nothing but positivity. Leading up to the game, the tumor in her head had grown to the size of a lemon, as her time here on earth has dwindled down to weeks and some sources saying they didn't even know if she was going to physically be able to play in her first last game.

Sunday afternoon myself and millions of others across the country tuned into a sold out Cintas Center and watched Lauren Hill's dream come true. I found myself emotional and caught up in the moment of what was happening and what this meant for Lauren, her team, her community, and everyone else watching. Seeing her smile as they announced her name as a starter and the tears from my face just fell. The game started and MSJ set up in their play for Lauren to score to her first collegiate points, "Lauren's Lay up." The ball reversed, she came off a back screen and nailed a left-handed lay up, the tears fell again. The game stopped, the crowd bursted in an uproar, the opposing team cheered, as her teammates and coached rushed on the floor and surrounded her with joy all crying tears of happiness for Lauren finally getting this moment.

As the game continued Lauren watched her teammates from the bench wearing sunglasses and large headphones to cover her ears and eyes to block the sound and light from the game. During the course of the game there were numerous interviews from her parents, school administrators, and Lauren herself. At the young age of only 19, she has shown so much strength to us all living her final moments on earth to fullest wanting to reach out to as many people as possible to help gain support of cancer. She's never once complained or felt sorry for herself, but instead has cheered on her team at every practice as the only thing she has wanted to do since being diagnosed, was play basketball.

Many college and professional athletes have dedicated their upcoming games and seasons in Lauren's honor to play for 22. I no longer have the opportunity to do the same, but the impact that Lauren has had on my life in just three short weeks has been tremendous. When start to feel lazy or complain about something so meaningless, #22 instantly comes into my head, I say a quick prayer, and get just enough strength to push through for Lauren.

It honestly sucks that Lauren has to be an example for the rest of the world. But there is no doubt that she has done just that by changing so many lives, including mine. Lauren's legacy will live on forever and I hope that people will be inspired by her story. Inspired to live a selfless life of humility, strength, and determination just as she has done for all of us.

Lauren is hero and I will never forget this day, November 2nd 2014. Lauren's first game, and watching this very special moment.

Thank you Lauren, for all the sacrifices you have endured for the rest of us.

Lauren's Story: