NEW CASTLE —
High school basketball 2013-14.
Friday night lights. At a gym near you.
You ready to go? You ready to lead your teammates?
Imagine yourself in the locker room.
You can hear the music playing.
The crowd chanting.
Your coach is giving you last-minute instructions.
Getcha popcorn ready.
Yep, it’s on.
I mean, is your mind right?
Are you prepared to play to the whistle?
Ballin’ out until it blows.
Are you focused?
Are you loose?
Are you ready?
You better be.
Over the course of the next three months or so, you will hear plenty of “We are ...” cheers in the stands.
But before the referee tosses the ball into the air tomorrow night, let me share a couple of “You are ...” thoughts.
Close your eyes and meditate on them before bed tonight.
Clip this column and carry it with you during school tomorrow.
Let it sink in. Really sink in.
•You are ... Fit.
Think about all of those “gassers,” or “17s” or “suicides” or “lines” or whatever your district calls them.
Yes, you can go all out for a couple of minutes at a time.
You are fit.
•You are ... Confident.
Think about all of those shots you got up over the summer and in the fall. We’re not talking “takes,” either. We’re talking makes.
Yes, you can knock down the open jumper.
You are confident.
•You are ... Tough.
Think about all those early mornings you sacrificed another hour of sleep for a workout. Think about how you forgot the soreness in your legs. Think about how you dived on the floor, battled for rebounds and fought through picks during the summer league.
Yes, you can be a “50-50” player this season.
You are tough.
•You are ... Skilled.
One-ball drills. Two-ball drills. Think about the sweat pouring off your body as you dropped your hips and not your head. Think about all those cones you maneuvered through. Think about only your finger pads and calluses touching the ball.
Yes, you’ve got mad handles because you’ve performed thousands of reps — crossovers, C dribbles, between the legs.
You are skilled.
•You are ... Excited.
Think about the high-fives, the fist-bumps, the three-point plays, taking charges, sailing into the stands for a loose ball.
Don’t believe the lies. Even though your nerves are vibrating non-stop right now, you AREN’T nervous. You just can’t wait to set foot on the floor.
You are EXCITED. There’s a huge difference.
And, let me repeat, you are ...
You are ready.
Now go play like it.
(To follow Tim Kolodziej on Twitter, CLICK HERE.)