Growing up, I was strictly a fine arts kid. Singing started in the womb, and ballet began at age two. I was blissfully unaware of competition.
And then 7th grade basketball strolled into my life.
At 4’8″ & 80 lbs, the possibility of being an all-star was so close I could taste it. I’ve always been of the persuasion that you have to look the part to get the part.
Not wanting to be part of the crowd, I set myself apart with my Scottie Pippen Airs. Anybody could wear a pair of Jordan’s. It took someone unique, dare I say fashionable, to pull off the Airs. They were so sleek, so hip, & so sure to my game to the next level.
Suicides, wall jumps, polyester uniforms…I endured it all to make the team. JV was for suckers. Only the top of the top would cut it in my book.
The day came: who’s in & who’s out. I was like J-Lo in her Jenny from the Block phase…fearless with questionable style. Me and my Pippen’s knew it was my time to shine.
Coach Hickman read through the names: Sarah, Jacquline, Lindsey, and Jessica. Wait, what? I’M JESSICA….It…happened…in real life. I wasn’t surprised at. all. Neither were my AIRS: we’d earned it.
In true “Jess” fashion, I marched up to Coach Hickman and let her know: how excited I was to be on the team, that I couldn’t wait to get started, & would continue working super hard.
And then, and this is word for word, Hickman said, “Oh, did I call you? I meant the other Jessica. Can you go in the locker room and tell her?”
Could I…WHAT?! To whom? Jessica P.? Jessica P?! She had despicable taste in shoes!
I couldn’t believe it. My Pippen’s couldn’t believe it. The three of us were shocked, stunned, and crushed.
My jaw started quivering, but there was no way I’d let Coach see me cry over her obvious lack of taste & talent.
I marched into the locker room, full of giddy Varsity girls. Gag. I delivered the news to Jessica P. And then I unlaced my Scottie P’s for the final time.
The next year, Coach Hickman passed me the hall & asked why I didn’t go out for b-ball again. The complete nerve of that woman was astonishing.
I told her, “I think we both know I’m right where I should be.” And walked into art class a more confident woman.