Monday - Bishop Thomas Grant School/Wandsworth
Tuesday - Norwood Girls School
Wednesday - Brixton Recreation Centre
Thursday - Henry Thorton/Bishop Thomas Grant/Norwood Girls
Friday - Dick Shepard/Brixton Rec/Crystal Palace
Saturday - Away Game
Sunday - Home Game
That was my life. Add playing for the England squad to that schedule and it was more. Never worried about not being able to run, never worried about not being able to keep up with everybody. I was built for this! I'd even show up at other peoples runs. Show up at the court and get "That's Marvin's sister." I'd just smile. I loved it! I remember a tournament I played in at Crystal Palace and for some reason, one of the other teams thought I was injured. A few opposing bench players saw me suiting up in the locker room and looked as if they'd seen a ghost. I jog on the court and the other team looked like they were having an argument. Subject: "You told me she was injured!!!" LMAO
I also broke ankles. Literally!!! Well maybe she sprained it but it was bad. Another Crystal Palace incident. We were up by a fair amount so Coach Andrea Norton let me bring up the ball. Left to right, right, right, left. This chick was on the floor squirming, grabbing her ankle. The crowd explodes into "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH's" Ref blows the whistle, she's carried off court, I AM SO EMBARRASSED!!! I didn't mean it! I just crushed that girls dreams, or what I thought they were because of my passion for the game. I felt like Bobby in Karate Kid when he was asked to sweep the leg :(
I'd know a few weeks later how I assumed she felt. Scrimmage at Elephant & Castle court. Won most of the games except that last one and I do not want to leave the gym on a loss. One more game. That one more game changed EVERYTHING! Glendora was guarding me, I had the ball at the top of the key, waited on the pick, wasn't coming quick enough so I went to put the ball on the floor and all I hear is "CRRRUNCH" My foot felt like it shattered into a million pieces. I'm actually cringing and tearing up a bit as I write this because as my ankle shattered, so did the world around me. Everything I expected of me and my future disappeared into blackness. I remember everyone standing around me on the court, trying to help me get up. I don't remember my dad even getting there. I just remember crying in the car on the way to Kings College Hospital. Sitting in a wheelchair in A&E. Crying. My foot bruised and swollen. Crying. My dad holding my hand. Crying. My mother hugging me. Crying. The doctor "Torn ligaments." Crying. Wrapped up in bandages and iced out. Crying. I'd taken over my brother's room because it was on the 1st floor and the couch wasn't that comfortable, the thought of hopping to that 2nd floor bedroom. Crying.
A pen and pad lay next to the bed. I write down my thoughts and feelings. Some of which turned into poems or songs. One in particular. "Fly away"
"I'd fly away
Spread my wings so I'd escape,
If I was the sky
I'd let it rain to wash away the pain."
"If I was a Bird" was born out of true heartache. Getting injured in the pre-season. I'd been trying out for the England squad. I wouldn't be able to walk for a few weeks, let alone run. The coaches have probably forgotten about me. My world is over. I was determined to get back. I'd show up to the gym on crutches. Half time, get on the court and shoot 3's. Injured, I couldn't put that ball down. I'd annoy my mum dribbling the ball in the house. Torn ligaments! Whatever, I got back to where I wanted to be and did one better. Made the England squad anyway :) Had one of the best London Youth Games tournaments at Crystal Palace ever. One game in particular, want to say it was the semi-finals. I couldn't miss. I think at one point, I tried LOL I knew at that point, I could do ANYTHING!!!
My down time due to injury is where I found my pen. I'd always written songs, my 1st one being when I was 8 called "Gonna Getcha"! I still have the Casio I played the chords on *well, I know where it is :) My dad was a bass player in the 70's to early 80's in the band "Supercharge" on Virgin Records. Of course influence starts in the home. I had musical instruments and a ball. I had a choice. Both. It wasn't until I sacrificed the other to be as successful as I wanted to be. Saying goodbye to basketball wasn't easy. I think my dad was more heartbroken than I was. Growing up as a tomboy didn't deter me from being a girl. First serious boyfriend was a basketball player. First major crush was on a basketball player. My first solo single is about basketball players! There is a deep rooted addiction to the game and all the discipline it taught me, all the experiences it allowed me to grow from.
THANK YOU! I love you, always.