I grew up on the reservation my whole life, I live on the Kaibab Paiute Indian Reservation. I am very proud of myself and my culture. Living on the Reservation gives you different opportunities in school and life generally. Many people think that nothing is going on at the reservation and how “boring” it is. I do agree that some moments get “boring” but I try to avoid that feeling. My mom said, “There is nothing to be bored about, you have so many things to do in that room or go outside and play basketball.”
Basketball has been a family legacy, generation after generation from my mom’s side and my dad’s side. I have been playing basketball since I was six years old. I have played in pee-wee tournaments, those tournaments were hosted by the Paiute Tribe of Utah in Cedar City. My grandpa is from Cedar City and for most of my childhood I would travel up there to play in tournaments or go to the pow-wows. I have suffered through a lot in basketball, I thought about giving up so many times, but I always seem to run back to it. Right now at Fredonia High School it’s still football and volleyball season but I’m ready for basketball.
Throughout this summer, I have been practicing outside with my brother. He is my huge supporter and he is the one making me get out of bed to go do something. I learned a lot from my brothers and my dad mostly, as much as I don’t like to get yelled at sometimes the yelling can be useful. During my games in Fredonia, I try my best to not get mad or get into my head. Although hearing the crowd can be overwhelming, it’s easy to get lost in thought of the game, and that’s a reason why I love basketball. You can put your headphones on or think of a song and you can get into a groove with the ball. Playing in tournaments throughout my whole life really pays off for me, it gives me an advantage of playing different players.
The tournaments I have played in Cedar City are all co-ed, and the teams consist of native kids. I love these tournaments because I get to invite my friends to play and my cousins. For a few years now I have been making my own team, the reason for this is that no one asked me to play on their team. It’s sad because little me always wanted to be included and no one chose me, so I started my own team. My dad helps me out and contacts a few of my distant cousins. One of my favorite books is called The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, it is about a native kid who goes to a new school outside of the reservation, he has been going to the same school for his whole life and he wants a change. I think that this book is a great representation of my life and basketball, it’s a funny fiction book but it captures some similarities to my real life. A quote I will never forget in the book is, “If you can’t read, you can’t ball.”
I love basketball, it’s in my heart, soul and mind. I thank my dad for making me have this heart for the game, he drilled his quote into the back of my head, “You gotta’ want it,” and, “Basketball is 90 percent running, ten percent thinking/ mindset.” I also would like to thank my grandpa, he is not here anymore but he is my number one supporter. He has been to all of my home games in the front row, watching on the sidelines. And to my coaches Mandy Bundy and Eric McCormick, I cannot wait for this season to start.